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Hoechst Celanese Rebuilding In Pampa

December 16, 1987

DALLAS (AP) _ Hoechst Celanese will rebuild its Pampa plant, ravaged last month by explosions and a chemical fire, and will keep the workers until production resumes, company officials said Wednesday.

″These people are going to be productively used,″ said Celanese Chemical Co. spokesman Herb Reed. ″At a meeting last night, they were asked to be very flexible. ... They want to get on with it.″

The plant, Pampa’s largest employer with 400 workers, has been shut down since a Nov. 14 explosion and fire that killed three workers and injured 37 others. Damages were estimated in the millions of dollars.

Harry B. Bartley, president of Celanese Chemical, said construction would begin immediately and the plant would be in production by the end of 1988.

″We are confident the plant, as rebuilt, can be operated safely,″ Bartley said in a statement released from Celanese Chemical, a subsidiary of Hoechst Celanese.

All of the plant’s 400 employees have been retained and paid since the accident, the company said. The employees have been involved in damage estimation, investigative tasks and cleanup. After the accident, contracts with major suppliers were temporarily halted, including the services about 170 contract employees hired mainly for construction and maintenance work.

The company said contract services would be renewed as required.

Company officials said the accident occurred in the plant’s liquid phase oxidation unit. The butane LPO unit is central to the plant’s operation, where more than 500 million pounds of acetic acid are made annually.

Celanese Chemical Co. Inc. is a subsidiary of Hoechst Celanese Corp., a diversified producer of chemicals, fibers, plastics, films and pharmaceuticals .

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