One employee remains hospitalized following deadly blast in Donaldsonville

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Saturday, June 15, 2013 - 11:29am

One employee remains in the hospital today following a deadly explosion at CF Industries in Donaldsonville.

The hospitalized employee is listed in stable condition. The remaining employees injured from the blast have been treated and released. We’re told they include three employees of CF Industries and three contract employees.

The explosion happened at roughly 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14. Ronald “Rocky” Morris, Jr., a 34-year employee with the company, was killed from the impact. He was a resident of Belle Rose.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected and their families,” said Lou Frey, Vice President and General Manager of the Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex. “Our employees are our greatest asset, and their safety is our highest priority.”

The area of the plant where the blast occurred is currently shut down for maintenance activity. Initial reports indicate that the blast was caused by a rupture of the nitrogen distribution header during the off-loading of nitrogen.

"We don't know exactly what happened," Louis Frey, plant manager, said. “Our focus is on our number one priority - the health and safety of our employees and the community. We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our employees.”

The company will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what happened.

According to the company’s website, CF Industries is North America’s largest producer of nitrogen. It ships approximately 5 million tons of the product for agricultural and industrial uses each year.

This incident and a double-fatal explosion at Williams Olefins occurred back to back in Ascension Parish, but are not connected. The double-fatal explosion in Geismar happened in the early morning on Thursday, June 13, and resulted in the hospitalization of roughly 77 people.

“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.”


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