At approximately 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, a storage tank of ethylene dichloride exploded at a chemical plant in Westlake, Louisiana – injuring six contract workers and forming a dark “mushroom cloud” in the sky. At the time, the Westlake Chemical plant was offline and maintenance was being performed on the storage tanks.
At about 11 a.m., a local school board issued a “precautionary shelter-in-place” order for all schools located in the towns of Westlake and Sulfur, Louisiana.
The fire has since been extinguished and no hazardous vapors have been identified in the air. All shelter-in-place orders have been lifted, and all students, faculty, and staff were reported safe.
At this time, the cause of the explosion remains unknown and is under investigation.
Five people were taken to the hospital, while one was treated at the scene. Fortunately, no one suffered life-threatening injuries. According to a Westlake Chemical spokesperson, injuries ranged from lacerations and eye irritation from dust to a first-degree burn.
In September 2021, Westlake Chemical also reported an explosion at their sister facility in Sulphur, Louisiana. At least five contractors were injured during that incident. That incident was identified by the company as an “industrial accident” during a routine offline petro plant maintenance.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ethylene dichloride is a chemical used in the production of plastics, cleaners, and also a gasoline additive. When inhaled in large concentrations, ethylene dichloride can potentially harm a person’s nervous system, liver and kidneys, and cause breathing or heart issues. It has also been classified as a probable human carcinogen.
If you or someone you love was injured in the Westlake Chemical plant explosion or any other chemical plant explosion, contact the chemical plant explosion attorneys at The Doan Law Firm. We can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation, review your case in more detail, and provide you with your best legal options.
The attorneys at The Doan Law Firm specialize in these types of cases and can help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.