Nine hurt in blast

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / August 19, 2000

CONVENT – Nine workers were injured Friday morning in an explosion at Convent’s Motiva Enterprises Refinery, coming less than a month after the explosion at the IMC-Agrico Faustina Plant in St. James Parish.The St James Parish Emergency Operations Center, the Louisiana State Police and the Department of Environmental Quality responded to the 5 a.m. emergency.Gary Miller, public relations officer for Motiva, categorized the explosion as very small with the injuries being non-serious.

The nine injured workers were hired contractors with Conex, Inc., based inTexas, who were working around the heater unit. Eight were admitted tothe St. Elizabeth Hospital emergency room in Gonzales around 6:30, andone was transferred later to the Baton Rouge General Hospital burn unit.

The ninth employee was also at the burn unit.

The contractors at St. Elizabeth were discharged between 8 and 8 a.m.,according to emergency room officials.

One gentleman was released from the burn unit Friday morning. The lastinjured worker was still being treated Friday but was in stable condition.

Though the cause of the explosion is still unknown, Miller said it occurred in a heater which was shut down for routine repairs. He said there was nofire associated with the explosion or displaced material to be cleaned up, and overall the explosion did not effect the refinery’s operation.

An emergency response supervisor at the Department of Environmental Quality stated that there was no environmental release or offsite impact.

The St. James Hazardous Materials unit was dispatched, said Doug Cain,public relations officer with the state police. All employees wereaccounted for and there was no environmental release, he added.

The all clear for the emergency was given at 7 a.m. Currently, Motiva andConex employees have formed an accident investigation team to determine the cause of the explosion and how to prevent it from occurring again, said Miller.

The names of the injured employees had not been released by noon on Friday.

Return To News Stories