No injuries reported during explosion at Plaquemine chemical plant

OFFICIALS: Vessel rupture led to explosion at Plaquemine chemical plant

PLAQUEMINE, La. (WAFB) - There was a reported explosion at the Dow Chemical plant in Plaquemine Sunday morning, according to the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office. No injuries were reported, according to Dow Louisiana Operations.

The Iberville Parish Council says there is no immediate danger to the public.

WAFB received several calls from residents this morning about hearing a loud explosion just after 8 a.m. The explosion was heard and shook homes across the river in East Baton Rouge Parish.

About 10 miles away from the plant Thomas Argust was getting his day started, but the loud noise we now know was an explosion caught him off guard, “ It sounded like someone dropped a bowling ball in our house. When I went outside on the front porch, I looked around. I didn’t see anything in the sky.”

Posts on our WAFB Facebook page say the incident was felt as far away as Gonzales, Zachary, and Central.

Trudy Jackson lives about five miles away from the plant. She’s used to the occasional noises coming from the site, but this morning’s boom still caused her to pause, “It was like a crash. We thought it might have been something that hit the house. Or something going on with the dogs outside.”

According to Dow Louisiana Operations, a vessel ruptured at the site Sunday morning. The company stated there are no injuries and that officials are conducting air monitoring. Dow added the initial assessment does not appear to be an offsite impact other than the noise. The company also stated the production unit is stable.

Officials said leadership and the company’s response team is on-site walking through the unit. Dow added it is in direct contact with regulatory agencies and local community officials. Officials also said people will see steam from the unit as the company keeps the steam headers warm during the shutdown. The rest of the site continues to run safely with normal flaring, according to Dow.

The West Baton Rouge Parish Office of Homeland Security said it’s aware of the vessel rupture and that it’s in contact with Dow Chemical.

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