One killed, seven injured in Donaldsonville plant blast

CF Industries explosion site Saturday morning
CF Industries explosion site Saturday morning
CF Industries Friday night
CF Industries Friday night

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - One person was killed Friday evening in a blast at the CF Industries plant in Donaldsonville.

Crews were working on a vessel around 6:45 p.m. when State Police say they over pressurized a nitrogen vessel, causing it to rupture.

State Police say seven people were injured.  Three were taken to Baton Rouge General and are in critical condition. Two were taken to St. Elizabeth's and are in stable condition.

State Police say 56-year-old Ronald "Rocky" Morris, Jr. of Belle Rose, LA was killed in the incident. Morris had worked for CF Industries for 34 years.

CF Industries released the names of those injured in the blast. They are Courtney Julien, Melvin Singleton, Jeramy Worsham and Kade Yarbrough. They also note that three contractor employees were also injured.

CF Industries was fined $150,000 by OSHA in 2000 after three people were killed and eight were injured in a fire and explosion at the Donaldsonville plant's ammonia unit.

The company manufactures nitrogen products at the Donaldsonville plant.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected and their families," said Lou Frey, Vice President and General Manager of the Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex.  "Our employees are our greatest asset, and their safety is our highest priority."

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley says in reference to the two plant explosions, "This has been a trying time for Ascension Parish, a tragic time," he said. "The irony of back to back incidents has not escaped us. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and injured."

Troopers say officials from OSHA will go to CF Industries as soon as the site is deemed safe.

This explosion happened one day after an explosion in Geismar, LA at Williams Olefins plant killed two men and injured 77 plant workers. Geismar is about 20 miles northwest of Donaldsonville.

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