WESTLAKE, La. (KLFY) — Reports are confirmed out of the Lake Charles area, including from KPLC-TV, that an explosion occurred this morning, Jan. 26, at a chemical plant in Westlake, La., with six people reported as injured.
Louisiana State Police Troop D said the explosion occurred between I-10 and I-210 at Westlake Chemical among its ethylene dichloride storage tanks. Westlake Chemical spokesman Joe Andrepont said none of the injuries reported were life-threatening. One worker was treated on-site, while five others were taken to local hospitals.
Investigations into the explosion are underway, and will likely take several weeks, according to Andrepont.
The same company also reported an explosion at a sister facility that injured six people on Sept. 28, 2021. In that explosion, Westlake Chemical called the incident “an industrial accident” in an offline petro plant that was undergoing maintenance.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ethylene dichloride is “primarily used in the production of vinyl chloride as well as other chemicals. It is used in solvents in closed systems for various extraction and cleaning purposes in organic synthesis. It is also added to leaded gasoline as a lead scavenger.”
In a tweet today, Jan. 26, Read Free Louisiana reported seeing a “mushroom cloud” from the direction of the chemical plants that line Interstate 10 in western Calcasieu Parish. The photographer, Ryan Abshire, said he took the picture below around 30 seconds after hearing the blast.
KPLC reports that shelter-in-place mandates have been lifted, and there are no vapors in the air.
This is a developing story. Updates will be posted here as they become available.