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Wednesday’s explosion marks second in four months for Westlake Chemical

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 10:20 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The explosion at Westlake Chemical South on Wednesday is not the first at a Westlake Chemical facility - it’s the second within the span of four months.

The recent explosion sparked legal outcries as some are expressing a need for better safety measures at those industrial sites.

The first happened in September 2021 at Westlake Chemical’s Petro Complex off of highway 108 near La. 27. Fast forward to January 2022, another explosion, this time at Westlake Chemical South located on PPG Drive near Pete Manena Road.

A lawsuit was filed following the September 2021 explosion involving 22 people claiming injuries from that incident.

An attorney with Arnold & Itkin LLP, representing those in the civil suit, said the explosion at Westlake Chemical South exposes systematic problems within industrial companies.

“This shouldn’t occur, and it certainly shouldn’t occur in the time frame in which it did,” attorney Kyle Findley said. “So, we hope to continue to push and continue this litigation to take care of the workers that were injured but also to instill change.”

Findley said his firm, Arnold & Itkin LLP, hopes to see changes all across the board regarding the culture of these types of companies and how they implement safety for their workers to prevent “life-changing injuries.”

“They’re injuries that prevent you from being able to take care of your family again. They’re injuries that produce a significant amount of pain. They’re injuries that result in surgeries,” Findley said. “And that’s why safety measures need to be taken in order to prevent these types of things from happening.”

The initial report from January’s explosion confirmed that six were injured, but Findley suggests the number of those affected on site from the blast will increase.

Findley explained that’s what happened in September when only six were initially reported, and now there are 22 people on that lawsuit against Westlake Chemical.

“In a confined space like this at a plant, the repercussions from a blast of this magnitude can have severe repercussions throughout the plant, throughout workers in the vicinity,” Findley said.

Westlake Chemical is unable to give further comment at this time.

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