1 killed, 8 injured in blast at Louisiana chemical plant

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Emergency personnel are on the scene of an incident at CF Industries in Donaldsonville, LA. Reports are that an explosion occurred. A representative with Acadian Ambulance says they are treating at least 5 patients. Two are believed to be in critical condition. A witness at the scene tells NBC33 News that it was a delivery truck might be involved in the blaze. According to the company's website, CF industries is North America's largest producer of nitrogen. It ships approximately 5 million tons for agricultural and industrial uses each year. (CNN photo)

(CNN) — One person died and eight others were injured in a blast Friday evening at a chemical plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, police said.

The incident occurred at a CF Industries facility in the Mississippi River community of about 7,500 people, located some 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. According to its website, CF Industries is “the second largest nitrogen fertilizer producer in the world and the third largest phosphate fertilizer producer among public companies.”

Nitrogen was being offloaded from a tanker truck inside the Donaldsonville plant when “a small vessel ruptured,” plant manager Louis Frey said.

“We don’t know exactly what happened,” he said.

Frey insisted “there was no explosion and no fire. It ruptured.” Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeffrey Wiley explained, “It was kind of like a balloon popping.”

Two of the eight people injured were airlifted from the plant. Louisiana State Police Lt. John Cannon had told CNN that two people were critically injured in the incident.

The parish sheriff stressed that there was never any danger to the general public from the blast or any dispersal of chemicals.

The blast comes a day after two people died and more than 100 others were injured in an explosion at another at Louisiana chemical plant — that one in Geismar, which is in Ascension Parish, like Donaldsonville.

Authorities didn’t know immediately what caused that explosion at the Williams plant, which produces about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer-grade propylene each year, according to the company’s website.

In addition to 29-year-old Zachary Green’s death, dozens were hospitalized for burns, cardiac issues and blunt trauma, Louisiana Department of Health spokeswoman Christina Stephens said.

Both explosions happened two months after 15 died following a fire and twin blasts at a fertilizer plant facility that decimated homes, businesses and more within 37 blocks of West, Texas, a small town 20 miles north of Waco.

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