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Fire strikes Westlake vinyls chemical plant in Louisiana

March 28/2012

(isssource) -- Investigators are still searching for the cause of an explosion and fire Thursday at Westlake Chemical Corp.s plant in Ascension Parish in Geismar, LA, which knocked out a unit making feedstock for a widely used plastic resin.

The fire erupted at 8 a.m. in the Geismar Vinyls Complex while workers were restarting a unit shut down a few days earlier for normal maintenance, said David Hansen, spokesman for Houston-based Westlake Chemical.
No one was injured and the cause of the fire and explosion remains under investigation, said Karen Khonsari, Westlake Chemicals environmental health and safety manager.
All persons are accounted for, and the fire is currently under control, she said during a news conference Thursday morning.

The affected unit makes vinyl chloride monomer, the feedstock for polyvinyl chloride, a commonly used ingredient in a variety of household products, including piping.
Hansen said the unit makes about 550 million pounds of VCM annually, while the plant makes 60 million pounds of PVC.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:PVC, VCM.
Category:General News
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