Dow says no airborne threat after massive explosion at Plaquemine plant
UPDATE - A new statement released by Dow has provided new information about the fire that set off a series of explosions Friday night.
Dow says that at around 9:15 p.m. Friday, a fire occurred in Dow's Glycol 2 Unit.
The Iberville Parish Council declared a shelter-in-place for half a mile on the south side of the site, which has since been lifted after Dow leaders advised that the area is safe.
Highway 1 reopened at 8:45 a.m.
While crews have substantially reduced the fire, they are still working to fully extinguish it.
No impact on air quality has been detected, however, Dow, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and a third-party company are continuing to monitor the air.
Read the original story below.
PLAQUEMINE - A series of explosions at the Dow chemical plant along the Mississippi River triggered panic in parts of the capital area late Friday night.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi told WBRZ that six explosions were detected at the facility around 9:30 p.m. Witnesses living nearby caught video of massive flames and said the shockwave was felt from miles away, including in parts of Baton Rouge.
All plant personnel has since been accounted for, and the firefighters appeared to have the flames under control as of around 11 p.m.
Parish officials issued a shelter-in-place order for a half-mile radius surrounding the plant, though there is nothing from officials indicating that there was any imminent danger.
Dow Louisiana Operations released the following statement:
"Dow's Emergency Operations Center is working closely with local and state agencies to respond to the incident on our Louisiana Operations site. All personnel are safe and accounted for. Air monitoring has not detected hazardous materials in the air."
Last year, a major chlorine leak at the Olin plant on that same property also forced residents in Plaquemine to shelter inside their homes. Parish President Mitch Ourso later criticized the plant's response to that situation, saying the company initially misrepresented just how dangerous the situation really was.
The same Olin facility was previously cited for failing safety checks in the past.
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