Police: OSHA to join La. blast investigation

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm •  Published: June 15, 2013

DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) — Federal investigators are expected in south Louisiana over the weekend at the site of an explosion that killed one worker at chemical plant in Donaldsonville — the second such blast in the area in as many days.

State Police Trooper Jared Sandifer said Saturday officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were coming to the CF Industries facility as soon as the site was safe. Sandifer said the state police's hazardous materials unit was at the plant overnight.

"Once they deem it safe, they will pull out and let OSHA and company officials do their work," Sandifer said.

Police said Ronald "Rocky" Morris Jr., 55, of Belle Rose, La., was killed in the Friday blast. He had worked at the plant for 34 years, company officials said.

CF Industries identified its injured employees as Courtney Julien, Melvin Singleton, Jeramy Worsham and Kade Yarbrough. Three contractor employees also were hurt.

The company said in a statement Saturday that one of its employees remained hospitalized in stable condition and all the other workers were released from Baton Rouge-area hospitals.

CF Industries manufactures ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers at the Donaldsonville facility. Officials said there were no hazardous materials at the site.

The company said the blast occurred about 6 p.m. Friday in a section of the plant that had been shut down for maintenance and that there was no fire, chemical release, or threat to the community.

Lou Frey, vice president and general manager of the Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex, said it involved a rupture in a small vessel or "header" as nitrogen was being offloaded from a tank truck. CF officials said everything was secure at the plant.

"Our focus is on our number one priority — the health and safety of our employees and the community," Frey said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our employees."

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