Tamela Kirby was working from her home in Geismar Thursday around 8:30 a.m. when flames erupted at the chemical plant two miles down the road after a major explosion.
"Traffic was stopped immediately going into the plant and going out of the plant and everything, so it was very scary," says Kirby.
As of Thursday evening the cause of the explosion was unknown.
We do know that a plant worker—identified as 29-year-old Zachary Green of Hammond was killed and 73 other workers were taken to area hospitals. Assistant DEQ Secretary, Cheryl Nolan, says the Williams Olefins plant has been cited in the past and could possibly in the future following Thursdays explosion.
"Once the investigation is complete if there are violations they will be held accountable for them from DEQ and perhaps other agencies as well," says Nolan.
"I think it's too early to speculate what actually caused the explosion, but we do know the plant had been approved for an expansion and we do know they were in some kind of turnaround at this time," says Gov. Bobby Jindal
Jindal adds that the state is also looking into the air quality in and around the plant, though he says there should be no issues moving forward.
"Both the company and DEQ are doing additional testing not only at the plant site, but miles away from the plant site, and following the direction of the plume," says Jindal.
Jindal says the black smoke some people were seeing billowing from the accident site is harmless hydrocarbons—a result of fans in the plant being shut down.
1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
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