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Acetylene tanks explode at Louisiana chemical plant

30 January 2013

One person was injured, families were evacuated and US 190 was shut down on January 29 after an explosion and fire at the Air Liquide Specialty Gases facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
There were around 200 emergency officials on the scene handling evacuations, traffic and general safety.

The West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said two tanks of acetylene exploded, however, the public relations office for Air Liquide in Houston says the tanks were empty and waiting to be filled with acetylene. One person was taken to the hospital with injuries to their eyes. 

West Baton Rouge Parish has declared a state of emergency and a spokesperson from the Sheriff's office said numerous tanks exploded. Officials believe the explosion was caused by a faulty valve on a tank.

The evacuation of homes and businesses covered a one mile radius, but roads within a three mile radius of the plant were also closed. Around 40 homes were evacuated

Two community centres were used as shelters to house the people evacuated. Two hundred people were taken to the West Baton Rouge Community Center and another hundred or so were taken to the Erwinville Community Center.

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