Westlake Chemical crews stabilize leaning tower containing estimated 500 gallons of ethylene dichloride after Thursday's explosion at Geismar, Louisiana, facility

GEISMAR, Louisiana , March 25, 2012 () – Westlake Chemical Corp. crews are cleaning up after an explosion and fire in a tower at the plant in Geismar (GICE-mar).

Peter Ricca of the state Department of Environmental Quality says a crane apparently got in late Saturday, allowing crews to stabilize the tower, which held liquid ethylene dichloride.

He said it had been leaning slightly since the accident Thursday, and had to be stabilized before anyone could go up to it to start getting out an estimated 500 gallons of chemical remaining in the tower.

Nobody was injured in the accident, which occurred as workers were restarting a vinyl chloride monomer unit. The vinyl chloride is used in making plastic pipe.

Ricca says air at the plant's boundary line is being checked hourly for safety.

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