Explosion, Fire Reported At Louisiana Chemical Plant

By: CBS/AP (Posted by Josh Mabry)
By: CBS/AP (Posted by Josh Mabry)

GEISMAR, La. (CBS/AP)-- A reported explosion touched off a fire at a petrochemical plant about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, resulting in an at least six burn victims, state police said.

Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain said he doesn't know how many people were hurt, but saw ambulances taking people from The Williams Companies Inc. olefins plant in the Ascension Parish town of Geismar. The Iberville Office of Emergency Preparedness told CBS affiliate WAFB-TV so far six people were sent to the hospital for burns.

The fire broke out Thursday morning at the plant, which makes highly flammable gases that are basic building blocks in the petrochemical industry.

Authorities are sending a hazardous materials team to the scene, WAFB-TV reports.

State police are asked residents in St. Gabriel area to shelter in place from Highway 3115 to Highway 74 as a precaution.

The company's website says the plant puts out about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene a year.

The Olefin team is responsible for the ethane transportation business consisting of approximately 200 miles of pipelines, as well as a refinery-grade propylene splitter, WAFB reports.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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