Reports of a large explosion at the Westlake Chemical South plant in Westlake, Louisiana were confirmed by officials Wednesday morning. Emergency services quickly responded to the scene, where a fire was still burning and a mushroom cloud lingered. Residents throughout Westlake, Sulphur, and Lake Charles reported hearing and feeling the explosion.
The incident occurred at 10:45 a.m. local time on Wednesday when an empty ethylene dichloride tank exploded. A colorless liquid, ethylene dichloride is used in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Six people were injured; one person was treated on site and the others were transported to local hospitals. No further details about their condition have been released.
All schools in the area, spanning Sulphur and Westlake, were put under a precautionary shelter-in-place order, said the Calcasieu Parish School Board. “All students, faculty, and staff are safe.”
The shelter-in-place order has since been lifted after authorities confirmed that there were no vapors in the air.
This is the second explosion in the past six months at a Westlake Chemical facility. Five people were injured in September 2021 when an explosion occurred during a routine turnaround at the Westlake Chemical Petro Complex 2 Unit.
Our Louisiana plant explosion attorneys at Arnold & Itkin are following the Westlake Chemical explosion incident closely. Our thoughts are with the victims and families affected by this disaster, and we look forward to seeing justice served and all at-fault parties held accountable.