A Geismar plant explosion left one person dead and 73 people injured on Thursday. Louisiana officials said one person was in critical condition.
State police told WSDU-TV that the ensuing fire was extinguished and controlled burns were in effect, causing more smoke. Hazmat crews were also seen investigating the plant.
Louisiana state Sen. Troy Brown, whose office is less than five miles from the Williams Olefins plant, told the Times-Picayune: “I actually heard the explosion and I actually felt the explosion.”
Thirteen people were airlifted via helicopter, 23 by ambulance, and 24 by vehicles to nearby hospitals, according to the paper. The plant is located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
A police spokesman told NBC News that the chemicals in the plant pose no threat to locals.
“They’re not leaving a compound, they’re not going into the air, they’re burning off,” state police Sgt. J.B. Slaton was quoted by NBC as saying.
The Williams Olefins plant produces around 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene annually.