Gov. Jindal Visits First Responders at Plant Explosion in Geismar
GEISMAR – Following a Unified Command Group meeting, Governor Bobby Jindal traveled to Geismar where he met with first responders and local officials for an update on the explosion at the Williams Olefins plant.
Governor Jindal said, “This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Geismar and everyone who’s been affected by the explosion. That includes the workers and individuals who were in the plant at the time of the explosion and their families, and we wish those with injuries a safe and speedy recovery. We want to thank the brave work of our first responders who ran toward danger instead of away from it to help evacuate folks.
“We wanted to come down here to survey the scene and meet with local officials and first responders, and the people of Geismar need to know that they have every resource of state government working for them right now.
“We have a lot of folks who are still working within the plant to assess the situation there. There will be further investigations afterward to determine what happened and to ensure this doesn't happen again. Right now, our focus is on the recovery, the rescue efforts within the plant, and on making sure that folks in the surrounding communities are safe.
“There were over 300 people evacuated from the plant site. Of the evacuees, eight people were taken by helicopter. At this time, the Department of Health and Hospitals report that 73 people from the plant site have been taken to local hospitals. There are 10 people in a safe room in the plant. This is part of emergency protocol for shutting down the plant.
“At this time, there is unfortunately one confirmed fatality. Ascension Parish has lifted the shelter-in-place order in a 2-mile radius. There are four additional plants in the area that have shelter-in-place orders, including Honeywell, Univer, Innophos and PCS Nitrogen.”
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
The plant is in the process of emergency flaring. There have been no detections above normal levels, but DEQ is doing additional monitoring out of an abundance of caution. DEQ deployed their emergency response staff and they have already conducted air monitoring on Highway 30 – between Highway 3115 and Highway 73. The results so far show no harmful effects.
DEQ’s air monitoring lab is on site. EPA START contractors have been mobilized and will support the state’s air monitoring efforts. EPA is also deploying a federal on-scene coordinator.
Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH)
DHH is monitoring surge capacity at hospitals in order to ensure there is enough capacity at hospitals in the region if needed.
DHH is also assisting with the coordination of ambulances for medical assistance. DHH has deployed four mobile crisis centers for mental health.
DHH will also be assisting with family reunification at Lamar-Dixon. There is a hotline that has been set up by the parish to help with family reunification. That number is 866-380-2303.
Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD)
DOTD is assisting state police with road closures and setting up variable message boards directing southbound traffic in this area to LA 74 Eastbound. Northbound traffic is being directed up LA 73.
LA 3115 remains closed to traffic from LA 75 to LA 74. LA 74 also remains closed at LA 3115. LA 30 is now closed from LA 73 to LA 74. The Traffic Management Center will advise any changes. DOTD encourages motorist to access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511, or by visiting www.511la.org.
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
DCFS has alerted the American Red Cross concerning this incident and is monitoring requests from the parish.
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
DNR’s pipeline division has said Enterprise Products Operating has indicated that they have shut-in their pipelines that enter the plant.