State closes probe into fire inside refrigeration unit at Westlake Chemical's Geismar plant


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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Company officials say air releases from an early June fire inside a refrigeration unit at Westlake Chemical Corp.'s vinyls plant in Ascension Parish did not exceed pollution limits.

Greg Langley, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said Tuesday that with that information, the state's investigation into the fire has been closed.

In a June 11 follow-up report to DEQ, The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/VbZDUS ) Westlake plant manager James Best wrote that the liquid organic peroxide either came into contact with unspecified "incompatible materials" or reached a temperature that caused a release of flammable vapors, which ignited.

"At this time, we are still investigating the cause of last month's fire at our Geismar facility," Dave Hansen, Westlake spokesman, said Tuesday.

Westlake and DEQ officials have said the fire caused no injuries and, based on air monitoring at the time, did not result in off-site impacts.

Plant firefighters spotted and extinguished the 45-minute blaze, which started about 11:15 a.m. June 4 and sent a dark plume of smoke high into the air.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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