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Explosion at Louisiana chemical plant kills 1, injures 73

Published on Jun 14, 2013 6:06 AM

GEISMAR, Louisiana (REUTERS) - An explosion and fire killed one person and injured 73 at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, on Thursday, unsettling an industrial town where authorities ordered people to remain indoors for hours to avoid the billowing smoke.

The blast at 8.37am (9.35pm Singapore time) sent a huge fireball and column of smoke into the air. The plant along the Mississippi River, about 100km from New Orleans, is one of 12 chemical plants along a 16km stretch of the river.

The fire, fuelled by the petrochemical propylene, burned for more than three hours, though government monitors had yet to detect dangerous levels of emissions, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told a news conference near the scene.

"Once the investigations are done, once there's a responsible party, they will absolutely be held responsible," Mr Jindal said.

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