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Donaldsonville, LA Fertilizer Plant Blast: 1 Dead, 7 Injured

In Ascension Parish Friday evening, a fertilizer plant experienced a nitrogen vessel burst, which resulted in the injury of seven victims and one death. The 55-year-old victim who lost his life was killed by the initial blast at the Donaldsonville CF Industries site. According to official reports, although there was a blast, no fire erupted following it, and the last was one which could be compared to a balloon tire popping. Sadly, this plant burst was just miles away from the plant explosion at the Williams Olefins plant which occurred the day before.

Lou Frey, the vice president and general manager of the site, claims that the vessel which burst occurred while they were off-loading nitrogen, and had been currently shut down for maintenance purposes. Frey reports that they're still perplexed as to what caused the burst, though it is their highest property to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible. As of late Friday night, reports came in stating that all the injured victims who were taken to the nearby hospital for treatment were stable in condition. While the cause of the incident is not yet known, the La. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson claims that as the nitrogen was being offloaded a catastrophic failure occurred. Investigators wonder whether it was due to there being too high of pressure or if the problem was more mechanical.

A worker who was at the scene claims that during the time of the blast, they were seeking to replace a valve when the pressure blew. This unnamed employee shared that anyone standing in a 15 to 20 foot radius of the valve was in danger of a painful injury. This man also noticed one of the injured victims on the floor face down right after the blast. The police claim that the man died almost instantly after the blast; he was a long time employee of the company having been there over 30 years.