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Plant explosion victim son of elected official

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GEISMAR - The most seriously injured worker from Thursday night's plant explosion in Geismar is the son of Kenny Matassa, mayor pro tem of Gonzales and a candidate for parish president, according to a representative for his family.

Anna White with Matassa's campaign said his youngest son, 34-year-old Nick Matassa, was badly burned in the explosion and underwent four hours of surgery Friday morning. She said he had third-degree burns to 15 percent of his body, and second-degree burns to 45 percent of his body.

"All we can do now is pray," White said.

Nick Matassa worked nights at the plant according to White, who said he was married with multiple children. She said the burn unit at Baton Rouge General had him in an induced coma while he recovered, and listed his condition as critical but stable.

The explosion happened around 11 p.m. at the Renewable Energy Group plant in Geismar. Investigators said a high-pressure hydrogen pipe was being worked on when it pressurized and released hydrogen, which then ignited and exploded.

Three other workers were injured in the blast. One was released from the hospital while two others were still being treated at the burn unit.

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