Officials: Loud boom caused by process called ‘decomp’

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Westlake Chemical officials have confirmed that a loud boom at its polymers facility in Louisiana was caused by a process called “decomp.”

Joe Andrepont with Westlake Chemical tells KPLC-TV that the public and employees at the company are safe.

Sgt. James Anderson with the Louisiana State Police confirmed there is no danger to the public

Andrepont says it was an emergency pressure release of ethylene. He says on the side of the reactors are discs that are set at a certain pressure. If that pressure of the gas exceeds that level, the disc ruptures and gas is released.

Sound waves traveled across southwest Louisiana and could be heard in southeast Texas.

Andrepont says the ethylene released is burned away by the ignition.

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