Governor Jindal Discusses Geismer Plant Explosion

Louisiana chemical plant explosion kills one and injures 73.
2:55 | 06/13/13

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Transcript for Governor Jindal Discusses Geismer Plant Explosion
I'm thank Jerry for coming out this afternoon and -- -- quick update about what's going on with the the rescue recovery operations and asked the sheriff's and others to come -- give them additional updates as well. We had -- unified command group meeting in banners we just now concluded a meeting of the local first responders. Plant manager and others here on the site give you the the latest information. First thing allies say is that our thoughts and prayers -- -- the workers in the families at elephants Plante at the Williams Oltmanns plant those were impacted by today's explosion. People got -- the surrounding communities need to know that -- and our thoughts and prayers there certainly we're gonna provide every assistance we stand up and get back on their feet. Today to go on of their lives to get back to normal. A few facts from today's explodes orbit 300 workers were evacuated from the plant site. Of these evacuees they were taken by helicopter to hospitals. As of now DH -- shows that 73 people in total including those eight. Have been taken to local hospitals -- emphasize these numbers will fluctuate these numbers will change. But the latest numbers are that 73 individuals from the plant site haven't taken to a variety of local hospitals. As of now we believe that every worker has been accounted for their -- -- workers still in the same room in the plant. This party emergency protocol to help them shutting down of the plants -- there are ten people there are safe. In a safe room -- maintain the -- operations that you can see. Unfortunately there is one confirmed fatality. There way there -- one confirmed that out evil worker at the planning at this time that workers mainly is literally being notified. As a -- called the name of that worker -- -- the -- been notified that as we're speaking you. First responders -- manager is in the process of notifying them that workers -- This action paris' left the shelter in place order -- -- the two mile radius around the plant there are war additional plans. In the area that do you have shelter in place orders they continue. Those include Honeywell. You know you know -- in a -- and PCS nitrogen. -- plants are scaled down their operations so. They they have skeletal crews they do you have people in those -- -- on reduced operations and air continue to be an under shelter in place. Orders in terms of the -- that you see emergency blaring. According DE GGQ's testing as well as an information from the company. This is mainly -- hydrocarbon not in. This is a mainly and I hydrocarbon not an inhalation hazard. And what that means is that at this time there are no early detection of dangerous levels of DOC volatile organic compounds. But out of an abundance of caution both the company and DQ were doing additional testing. Not only at the plant site but miles away from the plant site -- following the direction the plan. -- -- got emergency response that they've done air monitor on highway thirty between 31 did fifteen and 73 sub par again. They don't show harmful levels BOC's but -- get out of an abundance of caution they're doing additional testing and we'll have those results over the next. First round of tests come back within the first hour -- we'll have additional results over six to seven hours and they'll continue to release those they get those test results back. There may again living -- the direction Oakland taking down when samples further and further from the site. Each using air monitoring -- is on site -- and I EPA start contractors have been mobilized. To help support the air monitoring efforts EPA is also -- a federal on scene coordinator on the way here from Dallas should be here soon. DHH is monitoring the surge capacity of local hospitals making sure there's enough treatment. Capacity of this standard does not seem to be an issue there are also assisting with the coordination ambulances for medical assistance they've deployed for mobile crisis centers for mental health. There are so -- DC at best and others are helping -- reunification Lamar Dixon. Local government side of -- hotline to help family reunification that number is 866. 38023038663802303. Terms of road closures. -- roads continue to be closed 3115. Is closed from LA 75 LA semi war. Seven advisory boards also closed at 3115. LA thirty is closed from LA 73 to LA 74. There will continue to guarantee -- -- votes on changes to road closures and dial 511 or go to 511 LA Don ward I DDR tedious. Different message boards directing southbound traffic in this area de LA -- warned eastbound. Northbound traffic is being directed. LA 73 American Red Cross is also available to help families with reunification. Them -- enterprise -- -- -- indicated they have -- in their pipelines and entered the impacted plan. I would ask local folks development and give you additional updates as well welcome back to take questions as far as a couple things. A lot of praise -- thank the brave first responders. That have done great job of getting in there evacuating folks getting folks to safety obviously this is a tragic incident. Obviously there's been at least one confirmed fatality. We've -- many other folks that are in different hospitals not only saint Elizabeth spent in the surrounding area in the greater banners here -- so. Our thoughts and prayers are with those individuals -- those workers. With their families as we don't think they have safe recovery from their injuries. Obviously got a lot of folks are still working -- game within the plant. -- in this situation there they'll be further investigations afterwards to determine what happened to make sure. This -- happen again right now our focus is obviously been on the recovery. The rescue efforts within the plan -- to make sure that folks outside in the surrounding community -- site. Actually want to raise our local officials you know with the sheriff's offices and every villain ascension nurses working together affairs president local. DOC. Contact and Rick and all these other first responders the fire crews. Did a great job working together in the early hours of this morning up until -- their works and their efforts continue. I want to thank them for their very -- -- when that I'm -- has been shipped them off saying gives an additional updates we have -- state officials. Nevada state plays we got officials -- -- we -- -- from those set and other local law enforcement officials also give updates. After they give updates we have to take questions. Tomorrow. Thank you. It's a sad day and in the guys -- particularly for that Williams Oltmanns were badly and frankly for the federal can't community in this area. It's an industry that practice safety every second of every day -- but regrettably things do happen. -- want to -- to the viewing public that it's safe to travel in this area the governor told you the sections of road. That -- closed. Any thing else include not to and -- -- 61 and all the proximity. Taking away river road and -- thirty and 31 -- -- it's safe to travel. The important thing we want to do now is make sure that our neighbors and proximity. Are safe to come in and travel in and out of their homes. The governments and -- monitoring reassured we will continue to do that there is no indication of any off site impact. What we immediately had to do and thanks for that responding deputies and of the sheriff's offices and the state police that we had to render the the the area safe. You're talking about a small area in a 25 acre. -- chemical plant. However there was typically a great deal of concern about something exploded because you had an ongoing fire. -- Safety mechanisms and in response teams and what have you mitigated that we think we're okay and we think the worst is behind us now. Would after that we'll put him viewing public they're the reunification. Set up at Lamar Dixon Indians Alison and -- my office at 618300. Would be able to help you once again if there's some things that any next again. Anybody else needs. Further questions -- you do of the -- thank you. State police -- hotline was notified at 8:38 this morning of this initial explosion plan. News reports come -- and sit at the lane it was not it was proclaimed this time traveling to -- chance. I burning flammable. So that was information to our blog. I got accomplish I've just prior to nine from sharp lolly columns and make sure that we had all the personnel emerged response people is -- coming out here. This was a sergeant rescued meaning bush haven't removed over sixty people with the sheriff's office from the initial sides now. Inside the plant there's a location that when these things happen. Personalities -- go to it. The ten personality not going to. Which college communications and are safe house they went into that Bill Clinton and then their job is George shutting down portions of the -- they would do on that. -- was one body that was noticed and that area where -- actually I was. We suited up a team that Hazmat specialists from state police and from this action sheriff's office and we went in and we found a body were able to pull that -- out. So we were able locate all the people that that would be missing at that particular time everyone has been accountable. We'll continue -- operation will continue investigation. Public safety human life is our utmost. Priority when these things -- happened. Went once that is tank every day in the -- -- -- -- -- the investigation. Along with plant personnel found out exactly what chemicals wool board here that's a reportable amount we have that information. That we can share that win. We'll get over the plant manager will get with the local -- operations that aren't the sheriff from both -- -- -- and down and what's not determine exactly what happened. This is a chemical area. They understand. And know fully. I guess the effects -- can happen and things like that -- we'll be looking -- that will be working with -- and the other federal -- to come in -- -- -- exactly what happened but right now we don't know. Right now main concern was getting that person and we knew was inside the facility and getting out -- there. We consider that a rescue if we did not know -- -- -- of course we have since found that out we'll continue to work with them. We actually taken -- trooper and now want to plant manager personnel and taken to. To that person's house involvement in Hammond. -- life is to make sure that we notify. Next game we'll get that -- -- as soon as we make the proper notification. Just like we normally do any situation. It was it was intermittently between 8:38 probably around 11 o'clock. So lineman it would it would go at it there what you're seeing on them honest that just like together instead it's supposed to do that. That's designed to do that as a high you -- in the things that people normally see in this area you can smell and we got -- the cause we know that. The case when a check for all of the types of chemicals that could be we know what's being reported by the company we'll check reach one of those. And we'll be absolutely sure that those levels at -- lowest amount possible so that that we can make sure people get back into the area. But let me ask you about that. I think everybody's covered just about everything but I certainly want to thank mr. -- buyers who plant manager at Williams. He did an excellent job -- got a call a -- and was notified. Immediately. All proper procedure was followed them. The guy's dad -- a wonderful job the people that work at the plant them my hat's off to all agencies today. Actually trained -- every day of the week a year. And open it never happens but it did happen and they were ready everybody responded well everybody worked together they local. Barrett all the different issues. So it Bennett came Everett and and that could have been a lot worse even though it was bad. Negative. Gotten out of hand and just take my hat the allegiances -- and thank. I just want to step up on the share from the real passion want to thank Jeff. And the state police work we work hand in hand it as -- people drove up to roadblocks. It passed -- general got to the next officer and we wave -- we were able to contain it -- good. We just extend the public shows of patients to see -- you know people get home from work that try to get everybody home and make sure trapped won't be tight these areas let's take make sure we take it will be good. Make one final comment about emergency flaring to -- they'll be happy tech question and I had a question for colonel. Just one that the emergency -- and -- fire that you see right now is -- what is supposed to happen in a situation like this. That is the way that the plant burns off the chemicals that. The compounds that it has because obviously rescue plan. There's been shut down one of the reasons -- seeing the black plume. Is because the power -- -- torn up to the fans it would normally operate. You're not seeing that that operations as soon as it's safe for them to turn those units back on. You should see some of that the you'll -- -- -- -- you won't see as much about black smoke that that that looks like black smoke you'll see that black coloration. But again that not only playing you -- -- now from the emergency flaring. That is what is supposed to be happening that is how they're burning off the excess chemicals because again the rest of the plan has been shut down due to the explosion. We have to take questions on China and -- question. -- -- -- -- I think the latest bears' strengths is not just one particular location resolve entity they train together. Under the leadership of sheriff Wally I mean I don't -- think -- second -- -- location as well -- responding. Chemical emerged in this area we prepare for the for the -- certainly hope for the best. In this particular instance we had to going to get a body we're trying to do that -- -- the proper equipment. And we lead we get as much knowledge and trying to do that probably what they do just like -- had just what they do every single day but after this. Chemicals itself because we know what to do with the how to treat it and hatteras sponsored I think that was would help all. Picture I do things wind that I do know that the plant had been corporate for an expansion project that was being construct -- -- -- -- in the middle sometimes turn around. -- SDQ they have additional the question was in terms and -- beyond that that's what we know is happening plan we talked a plant manager that obviously they don't know yet what caused the explosion that they don't. I don't have even a theory yet I've talked to the folks from -- -- there waiting to get in there. Obviously they're gonna wait for and literally -- -- spokesman you know as the smoke clears and they'll be able to go in and begin their investigations. Flooding is too early speculate what actually caused the explosion but we do you know the plan had been approved for an expansion and we do you know they were in some kind of turn around. At this time. Absolutely and again -- -- our focus today is making -- as the colonel said getting people out safely. Obviously when -- got the potential for loss of life every focuses on securing -- not -- on site but the surrounding communities as well. Absolutely once the investigations are done once there's a responsible party they'll actually be held responsible man. -- they have make sure working again with our local and federal partners. There's something like this doesn't happen again. Drab -- this -- secretary Kamal what they quickly. What they're doing is they're testing. They've got several types of monitors are testing both at the plant site but also -- from the plant site. What -- test for for baseline for a smaller. Volatile organic chemicals and compounds and so they're looking to see if there any elevated levels had not detected that. I have an abundance of caution during additional testing. They they're gonna move further and further away from a plane into neighborhoods and communities in the point of that is you don't just defense on testing and testing -- plant site also want to go out. Miles away from the plan's best in the direction of -- To make sure that whatever -- -- not causing any kind of an air hazard. Four neighborhoods and they might -- -- neighbors right next plane so they're doing testing at the plant site they're doing testing. In the surrounding community go further and further away. They do an initial test her for BOC's if they see any elevated levels will -- more detailed testing at this time. They've not seen anything -- concerned but out of an abundance of caution that there are doing those detail test ballot. This -- secretary talked about. Definitely much covered it we did do extensive handing -- mining region. I'm sorry I'm Amy Cheryl -- Here. As governor stated we do do initial detection monitoring provides organic compounds. If we get any detection on our monitors -- kick in our procedures kicking in today's Morse BCA did not everywhere we. Figure out exactly what's in there. Now we have not gotten any elevated levels on our BSE not actors. But as a governor -- in an abundance of caution. We have collected samples were really running intended to identify the individual components and -- levels of -- individual components in the San. Making anybody else. Track record. And everybody. Thank you have some enforcement. From what I -- -- -- and meaningless. Barely. Teens -- not -- major advance but they have had some compliance issues and cost and it's going to be looking anything as well as the governor's apparently here. Once the investigation is complete. -- violations they will be held accountable are pretty cute and perhaps other -- The club -- obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the family the confirmed fatality as well as the other. Families of the workers of this facility those that are still in the hospital again dozens of people -- a local hospitals. As -- colonel said literally the workers it evacuated seeing. One of the workers they knew one of the workers they believe auto workers was lying on the ground when that was -- they're able to go back. They were able to confirm that once the touting the plan as -- as of this time. That the plan -- believe every worker's been accounted for they're still again dozens of people have been a local hospitals. Do we keep those workers and our thoughts and personal the other updates throughout today and as this. As we get more information. Thank yet.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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