According to published reports. investigators have not identified the root cause of the Williams Olefins Explosion last week. But officials at the Williams Olefins facility confirmed Friday that propylene, the chemical that caught fire, had been identified as leaking from a corroded pipe just six months ago. While the OSHA and CSB investigations are not complete, it appears that the corroded pipe—at a petrochemical facility–was likely a potential cause of the massive deflagration.
Louisiana State Police confirmed Thursday the fire that raged at the Williams Olefins Refinery after the early morning blast was fed by propylene, one of two highly flammable chemicals produced by the plant. On Friday, plant manager Larry Bayer added that a major expansion project — which will increase the plant’s annual production capacity by 600 million pounds — was ongoing near the blast site and that the facility was busy with additional construction personnel.
But the company said it doesn’t yet know what triggered the propylene combustion that resulted in two fatalities and 77 injuries. It has also not answered questions about a December leak of propylene from a corroded pipe that was significant enough to trigger a shutdown of work in the immediate area and a response by the plant’s emergency brigade, according to a report sent by Williams to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Zachary Claude Green, of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, will be laid to rest on June 18, 2013 in Hammond. Green, 29, was recently honored at Ponchatoula High School.
ABOUT THE FLYNN LAW FIRM
The Flynn Law Firm is a nationwide industrial accident and refinery explosion lawfirm which has represented workers injured in some of the largest industrial accidents in recent memory. The Flynn Law Firm is committed to advancing safe working practices and policies, and Jonah Flynn regularly lectures on the topics of OSHA compliance and general workplace safety.