Two Dead, Many Injured in Olefins Plant Explosion

The company confirmed a second person injured at the Geismar, La., plant has died.

Two people have died and about 70 others were injured in an explosion and fire that began at approximately 8:37 a.m. CDT Thursday during a turnaround at the Williams Geismar, La., olefins plant, The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Baton Rouge Advocate report. Williams' latest online update confirmed two fatalities and said one employee and four contract workers remained hospitalized Friday.

The statement identifies the workers who died as Zachary Green, 29, an operator at the plant who started work at Williams in October 2012, and Scott Thrower, 47, supervisor of operations. He joined the company in April 1999. "Zack will be deeply missed by his friends at the Geismar plant and throughout Williams," the statement says. It quotes Alan Armstrong, Williams' president and chief executive officer: "The Geismar tragedy has brought more heartbreaking news. I'm saddened to confirm the passing of a second Williams employee. Our deepest sympathies are with Scott's wife, his family, and friends."

The statement says grief counselors are available to meet with personnel and offer assistance, the fire has been extinguished, and Williams is cooperating with federal, state, and local agencies.

Williams' headquarters are in Tulsa. It has two main businesses:

  • Midstream. Williams is one of North America’s largest natural gas gatherers and processors, and this unit provides critical infrastructure to producers in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, according to the company.
  • Gas pipeline. Williams operates three interstate pipelines serving the Northeast, Eastern Seaboard, Florida, and the Northwest.
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