Report: Geismar plant explosion caused by ruptured reboiler

Published: Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:25 AM CDT
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GEISMAR, LA (WAFB) - Williams Olefins has released a preliminary report on the cause of a deadly explosion at its Geismar plant in June.

According to reports, the fire was result of a rupture in an off-line reboiler that was in standby mode, next to a boiler that was in operation.

The company says three things contributed to the explosion:

- The unexpected presence of liquid hydrocarbons in the reboiler in standby mode.
- The introduction of heat into the standby reboiler.
- The pressure relief system was isolated from the reboiler which was in standby mode.

When the standby reboiler ruptured, a vapor cloud was released, then ignited by an unknown source.

Two people were killed and 77 others were injured as a result of the explosion.

OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board are also investigating the incident.

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