UPDATE: Six injured in chemical plant explosion in Calcasieu Parish

Louisiana

CLARIFICATION: The original story noted that the number of injured persons in this morning’s explosion wasn’t 100% known. The company has since confirmed six injuries, not five.

UPDATE: 5:30 P.M. SULPHUR, La. (KLFY) — A chemical plant explosion in Calcasieu Parish has left six workers injured. It happened 15 minutes before midnight Monday. State Police and Westlake Chemical Corporation officials say no one was killed, but some workers are still in the hospital recovering.

The explosion happened at the Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex 2 Unit along La. 108 and La. 27. It was so loud people living blocks away thought a gun went off in their home.

“I heard a loud bang, and then my entire house shook, so I was just like are we dead yet?”, Sulphur resident Kaiden Jardneaux recalled.

Jardneaux was half a mile away from the towering Westlake Petrochemicals plant when an explosion worried him for his safety. He’s alright, but in a statement, the company says six workers were sent to the hospital.

Westlake Chemical Corporation called the explosion “an industrial accident” in a currently offline Petro plant that is undergoing maintenance.

In an updated statement from Westlake Chemical Corporation released at 5:24 P.M. saying,

“Late in the evening of September 27, 2021, Westlake Chemical Corporation experienced an industrial accident at its Petro 2 plant in Sulphur, Louisiana.  The plant was offline and undergoing a planned maintenance turnaround at the time of the accident. The accident injured six contract workers who were transported to area hospitals for treatment. Four of the individuals have since been released from the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the injured individuals and their families.  All of the injured individuals are contractors employed by one of three contractor firms working on the turnaround. There were no offsite impacts as a result of the accident.   Local, state and federal authorities were notified and Westlake Chemical Corporation is fully cooperating with the authorities.”

-Chip Swearngan | Director, Corporate Communications & Government Relations, Westlake Chemical Coorporation.

Jardeneaux said in the immediate moment following the loud bang, he was more focused on what’s next than what came before.

“My instant thought was like, ‘Oh crap the plant. Something just exploded at the plant. Is there going to be another thing to follow? Are we going to have to run out of here before anyone gets hurt by it?”, Jardneaux recalled.

Of the six injured, State Police say all but two have been released from local hospitals. The remaining two were transported further out of the Lake Charles area for their injuries and were still being treated as of Tuesday afternoon.

“Lake Charles has so many refinery plants. You know it. You think about it like man it’s scary. It doesn’t take much,” Louisiana State Police Troop D Public Information Officer Derek Senegal told News 10.

“I mean I’m sure everybody who works there is pretty cautious about what they are doing,” Senegal continued. “They have those steps in place to mitigate problems and everything, but it can be pretty scary when you’ve got them all up and down I-10.”

Both Westlake Chemical and State Police say the explosion did not cause a fire. Louisiana State Police is leading the investigation to learn what caused it.

ORIGINAL STORY: LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY) — At least five workers are injured this morning after a chemical plant explosion last night in the City of Sulphur along La. 108 and La. 27.

Louisiana State Police Troop D Public Information Officer Derek Senegal said logs at Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex 2 Unit on La. 108 show the explosion happening around 11:45 p.m. Monday evening. Investigators were on the scene at around 12:30 a.m.

Westlake Chemical has confirmed six people were injured in the blast. The extent of injuries was not immediately known. No deaths were reported.

Senegal said teams have not yet determined the cause of the explosion, though they hope to know more during the morning today. Senegal said no “off-site impact” is being reported at this time. All roads are open to traffic.

Shortly after lunchtime today, Westlake Chemical Corporation Director of Corporate Communications Chip Swearngan released the following statement to News 10:

Late in evening of September 27, 2021, Westlake Chemical experienced an industrial accident at its Petro 2 plant in Sulphur, Louisiana, that is currently offline and is undergoing a planned maintenance turnaround. The accident has injured six contract workers who have been transported to area hospitals for treatment. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families. All the individuals are employees of three contract firms. There was no offsite impact and there has been no fire as a result of the accident, which is under investigation. Local and state authorities have been notified.

This is a developing story. Details will be added here as they are released.

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