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Westlake Chemical officials and State Police address tank explosion

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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Westlake, LA (KPLC) - A tank explosion at Westlake Chemical was seen across the Lake Area as a plume of black smoke rose from the site.

“The Louisiana State Police Emergency Services did receive that call and responded one of the Westlake Chemical plants in Westlake. That plant’s located on PPG drive, the Axiall plant,” State Trooper Derek Senegal said.

It was an empty tank used for ethylene dichloride that exploded, according to officials.

“There was no offsite impact - now, some of the surrounding schools did shelter in place as a precaution but that shelter in place was lifted,” Senegal said.

Smoke could be see from all across the Lake Area. Photo taken near Sallier Road in Lake Charles.
Smoke could be see from all across the Lake Area. Photo taken near Sallier Road in Lake Charles.(KPLC)
Joe Andreport (pictured left) with Westlake Chemical and James Anderson (right) with State...
Joe Andreport (pictured left) with Westlake Chemical and James Anderson (right) with State Police held special press meeting discussing details of the explosion.(KPLC)

Westlake Chemical spokesperson Joe Andrepont confirmed six people suffered non-life threatening injuries. One was treated onsite and five were transported to area hospitals.

“There was some lacerations, dust that irritated the eyes, first degree burn with one and that pretty much covers the extent of the injuries,” Andrepont said.

The black cloud didn’t last long in the sky, as Andrepont said the fire was extinguished within 15 minutes. There doesn’t seem to be any lasting threat from the explosion.

“What you have in industry is you have employees, those that are trained, safety department operations, they’re responding. They are going to the incident. They’re not running from it, they are going to it,” Andrepont said.

The cause of the incident is still unknown as investigators from State Police and the Office of Emergency Preparedness work to determine what happened.

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