Geismar Louisiana Plant Explosion: June 13, 2013
On Thursday morning at 8:37 a.m., the Williams Olefins chemical plant, located in Geismar, Louisiana about 24 miles south of Baton Rouge, tragically exploded, killing two workers and injuring 77 others. According to the Louisiana Health Department, all 77 injured were immediately rushed to area hospitals, with 4 individuals receiving treatment at Baton Rouge General's burn center.
Sadly, as a Louisiana State Police Haz-Mat team searched the scene following the explosion late yesterday, officials discovered the body of 29 year-old Zachary C. Green of Hammond, Louisiana. Mr. Green, who was married with a young daughter, had worked at the plant as an operator since October of last year. The very next day, on Friday afternoon, 48 year-old Scott Thrower also passed away as a result of injuries he sustained in the blast. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both families during this extremely difficult time.
Williams Olefins is one of 12 chemical plants located along a 10-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. The plant produces both ethylene and propylene, two highly-flammable gases utilized by the petrochemical industry.
The release of these chemicals forced officials to issue a shelter-in-place order for a two-mile radius surrounding the explosion site. That order was also issued to four nearby plants including Univer, Honeywell, Innophos and PCS Nitrogen.
Update: Williams Releases Preliminary Findings on the Cause of the Deadly Olefins Explosion
October 4, 2013- Williams officials went on record stating that the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar exploded due to a ruptured stand-by boiler that released a vapor cloud into the air. That vapor cloud was then ignited by an "unknown source". Federal and State authorities continue to investigate the blast and are currently working with Williams to determine exactly what happened. Their findings have yet to be released.
Williams Olefins Plant Will Not Restart Operations Until April 2014
August 1, 2013– Earlier today, Williams, the owner of the Olefins plant that exploded on June 13th in Geismar, Louisiana, announced that the facility will not resume operations until April of 2014 at the earliest. While the company has already restarted its expansion project in areas surrounding the site of the blast, it still has a lot of work to do before the plant can resume operations. The explosion damaged a number of heat exchangers as well as surrounding piping, wiring and support structures, all of which will require repair or replacement. The cause of the blast, which killed two and injured at least 114, remains under investigation.
Confirmed: Williams Cites Area Near Propylene Fractionator as Origin of Olefins Explosion; Awaits Metallurgical Test Results
July 24, 2013– According to Williams, the deadly June 13, 2013 explosion at the Olefins plant in Geismar, LA originated near the propylene fractionator. This piece of equipment is responsible for refining polymer-grade propylene for use in everyday consumer plastics. While the source of the explosion has been pinpointed, the reason for the catastrophic blast has yet to be determined. Officials are awaiting the results of metallurgical tests to be carried out on the fractionator itself. These results should be available in the next few months. We will continue to post updates as news becomes available.
Confirmed: Toxic Chemicals Released Into Air During Williams Olefins Explosion
July 22, 2013– According to a report filed with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, over 31,000 pounds of dangerous toxic chemicals were released into the air following the June 13, 2013 explosion at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, LA. In all, at least 31,187 pounds of chemicals were released into the environment including 23,090 pounds of propylene, 2,398 pounds of ethylene, 5,621 pounds of other volatile materials and 48 pounds of benzene. As a result of the powerful blast, two workers were killed and more than 100 were injured. If you or a loved one were either in or nearby the Williams Olefins facility at the time of the explosion and are experiencing health problems like difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea or vision problems, seek medical treatment immediately!
Louisiana DEQ Issues New Air Quality Compliance Orders Against Williams Olefins
July 19, 2013 – Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality recently issued two new compliance orders stemming from the Williams Olefins plant explosion in Geismar, LA on June 13, 2013. In these orders, Williams is cited for a minimum of 39 air quality permit or reporting violations stretching from 2007 up to the date of the deadly blast. While the cause of the Williams explosion remains unknown, federal officials are focusing their investigations on the plant’s mangled propylene fractionator, a piece of equipment used to refine propylene for use in the manufacturing of plastic products. Metallurgical tests are expected to shed further light on what caused the fractionator to catastrophically fail.
Williams Announces Insurance Will Cover Damages from the Olefins Plant Explosion
July 17, 2013 – Williams announced that the company has $500 million in property damage and business interruption insurance along with another $610 million in liability insurance to cover losses associated with the devastating Olefins explosion that occurred in Geismar, LA on June 13, 2013. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are continuing to investigate in order to determine exactly what went wrong in the run up to the deadly blast that killed two and injured hundreds more. The results of these investigations are expected to be released to the public sometime in the next two or three months.
Determining the Cause of Explosion
July 15, 2013 – As federal investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board continue their probe into the deadly Williams Olefins explosion that rocked Geismar, LA on June 13, 2013, experts are placing their focus on metallurgical testing in order to determine exactly what caused the plant's heat exchanger to fail. These tests will examine the chemical structure of the metal that failed and will shine light on why this happened. “That’s where it looks like the real answers are going to come from,” said Dan Tillema of the CSB. Once samples are gathered, results are expected in approximately three to four months. The heat exchanger that failed was in an area of the facility known as the propylene fractionator, where propylene is processed in order to be used to make plastic. Authorities were finally able to visually inspect the faulty exchanger on June 27 but had to remain more than 10 feet away due to safety concerns regarding the integrity of the structure.
Fitts Zehl, LLP: Experienced Explosion Lawyers
If you or a loved one were injured in the devastating Williams Olefins blast, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced explosion attorney today to discuss your rights and options moving forward by dialing 1-800-993-4887 or by submitting an inquiry through our website.
Our Plant Explosion Lawyers are Working with Experts Across the Country to Determine what Went Wrong
Having represented over 200 workers injured in 4 of the largest refinery explosions in recent history, our plant explosion lawyers understand that the victims and their families currently have one priority: recovering from their injuries and getting their lives back.
But in addition to the physical injuries and damage, explosions like this one have substantial financial consequences for the workers and their families as well.
To ensure that the workers and their families aren’t left struggling with the physical and financial effects of this tragedy on their own, we’ve put together a team of some of the best accident investigators and product failure experts in the country to determine the cause of the tragic explosion and if and how it could have been prevented.
We will make the results of our investigation available to the victims and their families as soon as they are available. We have also made our lawyers available to answer any questions from the victims and their loved ones.
Call 1-800-993-4887 or Click Here to email our refinery explosion lawyers. All consultations are completely free, confidential, and require no committment whatsoever.
Our Plant Explosion Lawyers have Successfully Represented Workers Injured in Connection with 4 of the Largest Workplace Explosions in Recent History
- Over 150 of the workers injured in the BP Texas City Blast on March 23, 2005
- Over 20 of the workers injured in the Imperial Sugar Refinery Explosion in Savannah, Georgia
- 5 of the workers injured in the International Paper Plant explosion in Mississippi
- 5 of the workers injured in the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010
For the past 8 years, our explosion lawyers have been successfully representing clients injured in some of the largest and most well-known workplace accidents to occur in U.S. history.
For example, our plant explosion lawyers represented over 150 of the workers who were injured during the BP Texas City explosion and was among the first law firms in the country to be retained by the workers who were tragically injured while working aboard the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon when it exploded on April 20, 2010. Less than 18 months later, our explosion lawyers were able to negotiate a highly favorable and confidential settlement for all of our clients.
We also successfully represented over 20 of the workers who were injured during the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion in Savannah, Georgia and the International Paper Mill explosion in Mississippi. Our explosion lawyers settled each of these cases in under 12 months for highly favorable settlement amounts.
The Williams Olefins Plant Explosion: What Went Wrong?
Local, state and federal authorities are currently investigating the explosion but the cause of the blast remains unclear.
According to the company’s website, the Williams Olefins plant produces about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer-grade propylene each year. Both of these gases are highly-flammable and can be easily ignited by a spark or open flame. The plant is also responsible for ethane transportation utilizing a network of pipeline that stretches approximately 200 miles, as well as operation of a refinery-grade propylene splitter.
Stay tuned to this page for real-time updates on the investigation into what went wrong.
Williams’ Safety Record:
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2008 to the present, there have been no enforcement inspections at the facility.
Although records on file with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) show that over the years there have been multiple incidents in which pollution was released, generally the Olefins plant has managed to avoid any major incidents prior to the June 13th explosion.
According to the DEQ, the only items of concern were minor pollution releases and one incident in which the company failed to repair a leaking part within a 15-day mandatory deadline. These issues, which Williams self-reported, were ultimately remedied through a settlement agreement with the DEQ in the amount of $16,000.00 plus enforcement cost.
In 2011, the Olefins plant filed an application through the DEQ for a permit to expand. The plan would increase the facility’s ethylene production capability by nearly 40%, according to the permit request.
According to the permit application, “Williams anticipates construction to commence by June 2012 and startup to occur by June 2013”. Company officials have not yet commented on the status of the construction project at the time of the deadly blast.
Contact our Experienced Plant Explosion Lawyers at 1-800-993-4887 or by Clicking Here
If you or a loved one were injured in the Williams Olefins explosion, our Louisiana plant explosion attorneys can help. Consultations are free, completely confidential and require absolutely no commitment.
Our lawyers will gladly answer your questions, update you on the status of our investigation, inform you of your options, and explain what you should and should not do when dealing with Williams or its insurance adjusters.
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What the Explosion Lawyers at Fitts Zehl Can Do for You and Your Family?
Our law firm focuses on representing workers who were injured in workplace explosions. It’s what we do. In fact, our law firm is one of the only firms that has represented hundreds of workers in connection with 4 of the largest workplace disasters in the past 5 years.
- Transocean/BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion
- BP Texas City Refinery Explosion
- Imperial Sugar Refinery Explosion
- International Paper Refinery Explosion
We want you to focus on your future, and not how you’re going to pay for it.
Our firm understands that chemical plant workers depend on their salaries to support themselves and their families. We also understand that your bills don’t stop piling up just because you or a loved one has been seriously injured.
That’s why we not only ensure that our clients receive the maximum recovery possible, but we also do everything possible to ensure that they are receiving the best medical treatment available and that their jobs are protected while we are working to hold the company accountable for our clients' injuries and damages.
If you have any Questions about the Explosion, Your Rights, or the Investigation, Contact one of our Experienced Plant Explosion Lawyers at 1-800-993-4887.
We will answer your questions, explain your rights, and review any documents that you have been asked to sign. And if you would prefer to meet in person, we will fly one of our lawyers to you at no cost to you.
Whether you call us or another law firm, it is important that you consult with an experienced explosion lawyer to learn your rights before signing any documents that could limit your ability to recover compensation for your damages.
Just call 1-800-993-4887, fill out our contact form at the top right of this page, or click on the chat button to be immediately connected with one of our lawyers.