LSP: One killed, seven injured in nitrogen blast at CF Industries in Donaldsonville

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Friday, June 14, 2013 - 7:54pm

One person was killed and seven were injured in an explosion at CF Industries in Donaldsonville. This plant is located in the same parish as the deadly explosion that happened the day before at Williams Olefins plant in Geismar.

“The irony of back to back incidents has not escaped us,” Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, said. “We express our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and injured.”

Officials say Ronald "Rocky" Morris, 55, of Belle Rose was killed at roughly 6:45 p.m. from the impact of a blast caused after workers were pressurizing a vessel with nitrogen.

"We don't know exactly what happened," Louis Frey, plant manager, said.

Officials say five people were transported to local hospitals. Three were reportedly in serious condition and were taken to Baton Rouge hospitals. Two individuals are being treated with moderate injures at St. Elizabeth hospital in Gonzales. All were said to be in good condition by the end of the night.

According to the company’s website, CF Industries is North America’s largest producer of nitrogen. It ships approximately five million tons for agricultural and industrial uses each year.

On March 28, 2012, a hazardous materials team responded to a failure at one of their ammonia plants. During that shut down a chemical called amine was released into the air. One person driving by the plant was momentarily blinded by the chemical and crashed on the plant property.

In 2000 the company was issued a 6-figure fine for an explosion that killed eight workers and injured eight.

FOX44 News will continue to track this story, and we'll bring you new developments as we are able to uncover them.

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