On Friday night, a rupture occurred at a CF Industries plant in Ascension Parish, LA. While the earliest reports stated it was an explosion, the latest have said there was no explosion, fire, or chemical release--instead, the incident stemmed from a rupture in a small vessel when nitrogen was being off-loaded from a big rig. Some reports have stated the rupture was similar to a tire exploding from over-pressurization, although it is still under investigation whether or not that was the exact cause.
According to Plant Manager Louis Frey, the rupture was due to what he is calling a "catastrophic failure" in the manifold used to transport gas into the plant. State Police Mike Edmonson stated there was no ammonia on site at the time of the rupture and the incident was mechanical in nature--there was no ensuing fire and it did not cause damage to anyone outside of the plant itself.
The incident, which is said to have been "immediately contained," injured seven people and killed one, a 56-year-old veteran of the plant. Of the seven injured, two were airlifted to local hospitals for immediate medical attention while the rest were treated for minor injuries. The Donaldsonville plant involved in the rupture this evening has seen its fair share of problems before. In 2000, an explosion occurred at this plant that killed three people and caused injuries to eight other individuals.
Just yesterday, a fatal explosion occurred 20 miles away in Geismar, LA. Sheriff Jeff Wiley stated "It's been a trying time in Ascension Parish the past few days." At Arnold & Itkin, our hearts go out to those who were affected by this latest tragedy.