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La. Ammonia Plant Blast Kills One

May 25, 2000

DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) _ One person was killed in an explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night that also injured 11 people _ five of them critically, authorities said.

The blast, which could be felt for miles, happened around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at CF Industries in Donaldsonville, about 55 miles west of New Orleans, said Lt. Mike Edmonson of the State Police office in Baton Rouge.

One person died inside one of the plant’s ammonia-processing units. The plant makes nitrogen-based fertilizer.

A spokeswoman for Baton Rouge General Hospital said 11 people were injured, including two in critical condition and one in serious condition at the facility’s burn unit. Three others were in critical condition at Riverview Medical Center in Gonzalez.

Doug Cain, a state police spokesman who went to the plant, said between 12 and 20 workers were near the explosion, which happened during routine maintenance on an empty storage tank. The cause was not immediately known.

He said the blast set off a fire which was brought under control in about 20 minutes.

Cain said the plant, a sprawling complex that covers over 200 acres, remained in operation except for the section near the explosion.

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