Three killed in explosion at PCA mill in Beauregard

DRONE VIDEO: Aerial view of PCA
Published: Feb. 8, 2017 at 4:53 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2017 at 5:03 PM CST
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BEAUREGARD PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Three men are dead following an explosion at Packaging Corporation of America, officials have confirmed.

Six of seven people injured in the accident have been released from the hospital. One person was unaccounted for, but has been found.

All three men who died were contractors who were working in the pulp mill area, according to a statement released by PCA.

At approximately 11:10 am CST, Wednesday, February 8th, there was an explosion at our DeRidder, LA paper mill. The incident involved annual repair work being performed on piping in the pulp mill area and resulted in three contractor fatalities. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the people working on our site. The top priorities at this time are the notification of families of the deceased contractors and investigation of the incident with authorities.

At the time of the incident, the D1 machine was down for its annual outage and the D3 machine was running and continues to operate. The current assessment indicates that the annual outage work is expected to be delayed by up to one week and the mill will then resume full operation. Further information will be provided, as appropriate, when it becomes available.

Welding activity was taking place in the vicinity of the tank that exploded, said Sgt. James Anderson, state police Troop D spokesman. The tank contained "foul condensate, which is a by-product of the cooking process." Authorities are still investigating to see what other chemicals were in the tank.

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Anderson called the blast a "strong explosion."

Seven people were injured in the explosion - one with moderate injuries and six with minor injuries.

Three were transported to Beauregard Memorial Hospital, two to Lake Charles Memorial and two to Rapides Regional Medical Center. One person remains hospitalized at Rapides.

The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office received the call at 11:10 a.m., according to Chief Deputy Joe Toler. Toler said every available emergency responder in the area is on the scene.

The area has been contained and there is no fire, Toler said.

The PCA plant is located at 4200 U.S. 190. PCA acquired Boise in 2013. Learn more about PCA HERE.

Several departments responded to the scene. Louisiana State Police and OSHA are investigating.

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