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Feds Launch Investigation into Latest Louisiana Dow Chemical Plant Explosions

Posted on July 24, 2023 in

The legal team at The Doan Law Firm recently reported on a series of explosions and a large fire that occurred at a Louisiana Dow Chemical plant located in Plaquemine. The explosions and fire occurred in the Glycol II Unit at the facility. What we discovered in our initial examination of what occurred at the Louisiana Dow Chemical plant is that the explosions and fires earlier this month were not the first incidents at the sprawling facility in recent times. Indeed, the federal government has launched a substantial investigation into what now appears to be a pattern of serious and dangerous issues at the Plaquemine Dow Chemical plant.

Firefighters were not able to extinguish the tenacious blaze at the chemical plant for nearly two days. In addition, a shelter in place order was put in place for residents in and around Plaquemine as a result of toxic contaminants believed to be contained in a massive mushroom cloud that rose above the facility, a plume that could be seen for miles around and wafted into Plaquemine and surrounding areas. (The plant is located directly outside the town of Plaquemine.) People in these areas were also directed to shut off their air conditioning during a period of truly sweltering heat.

Two Fires, Multiple Explosions, and Six Releases of Highly Flammable Chemicals

As noted a moment ago, the July 2023 explosions and fire at the Louisiana Dow Chemical plant were not the first significant, dangerous incidents at the facility. According to federal and state regulatory officials, over the course of the past four years, the following events that had the potential to cause serious and even potentially deadly harm to plant workers as well as residents of the surrounding community include:

  • Two fires
  • Multiple explosions
  • Six releases of highly flammable, toxic chemicals into the environment

Second OSHA Investigation Launched at Louisiana Dow Chemical Plant

As a result of the July 2023 series of explosions and resulting fire at the Louisiana Dow Chemical plant, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA commenced a worker safety investigation at the facility. This is the second time in four years that OSHA has undertaken a formal investigation in regard to worker safety issues at the plant.

Chauntra Rideaux, a spokesperson for OSHA, announced the start of the investigation but offered no further comment at that time. In a brief statement in response to the OSHA investigation, Stacey Gautreua (a spokesperson for Dow Chemical) that the company was aware that OSHA would be sending an inspector to the scene to review the company’s response to the latest incident, among other matters.

Potent Chemicals Manufactured at the Louisiana Dow Chemical Plant

The Glycol II Unit is one of 12 inside the chemical plant’s 1,500 acre facility that manufactures ethylene oxide and other chemicals. Ethylene oxide is described as:

An important industrial “intermediate” chemical, ethylene oxide is used to make other final products, like anti-freeze, but also used in its own right, including as medical sterilizing agent. A hydrocarbon created generally from natural gas, ethylene oxide is highly flammable and explosive.

Ethylene oxide can cause cancer as the result of elevated exposure. In fact, during the past decade, scientists have become more focused on the potent toxicity of this chemical. Indeed, Louisiana’s river corridor has become a hot spot for an elevated risk of cancer as a result of emissions of this chemical of the type that occurred at the Louisiana Dow Chemical plant this month.

Your Legal Rights Following a Chemical Plant Explosion Accident

If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of an incident like the Louisiana Dow Chemical plant explosion accident, the experienced, compassionate legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can reach our firm any time of the day or night by calling us at (800) 349-0000.

A nationwide law firm, you can schedule an initial consultation with a dedicated chemical plant explosion lawyer at any one of our 40 offices or online. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm chemical plant explosion lawyer.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee guarantee for you. Our firm will never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you