The tragic plant explosion in Geismer, Louisiana has claimed its second victim this week. Two workers died and at least another 76 were injured in the explosion at a petrochemical plant that produces ethylene and propylene. Investigators are now probing the Williams Olefins plant to learn the cause of a massive explosion that turned into a raging fire.
The second victim of the accident is a 47-year-old man, and the first body discovered was that of a 19-year-old man who just started at the plant in October. This second victim did not die instantly. Instead, he was rushed to a burn center, where he spent one agonizing night before passing away. Investigators say that because of the man's condition, they were never able to speak with him before he died of his injuries.
At present, the Los Angeles Times reports that at least two Williams employees and four contractors that were at the plant are still in the hospital receiving treatments. As many as 100 workers were treated for injuries ranging from minor to critical. The Williams chemical plant employs 837 workers. The plant was in the process of expanding. The explosion happened in the plant's propylene fractionation area. In this location, the workers oversee the prediction of propane and propylene.
Workers will be paid while the plant remains closed for inspections, and the executives at the plant say that they are not certain when the location will be reopened. At present, a few dozen employees are working 12-hour shifts at the plant to make sure that it remains safe there. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration workers have already arrived on the scene, and Williams workers are complying with the federal investigation. At present, air levels don't display any pollution that could harm locals. In the past, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality fined the plant $4,500 for two Clean Air violations, but the DEQ says that the plant has only been charged with minor violations.