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Fire at Westlake Chemical Plant alarms local residents: reminds them about explosions in 2013

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 4:22pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 4:44pm

Investigators continue to look into another chemical plant fire in Baton Rouge. It happened around 11 o'clock Wednesday morning at the Westlake Chemical Plant.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” said local Debra Resendiz. “You know people died there so that was really scary."

It was déjà vu for Debra Resendiz. One year ago she heard the explosion at a chemical plant near her home and Wednesday, another explosion.

"This explosion we heard the boom, I think I heard two of them and then the smoke in the air and stuff."

A storage unit at the Westlake Chemical Plant burst into flames.

"With the wind direction and the component being burned which was an organic we didn’t feel it was a threat to the community because it was blowing away from the community," said Weslake Chemical Plant spokesperson, Jim Best.

Debra says that's no excuse. She had to find out from the news that there was no threat.

"If you don’t hear it, if you don’t see it and no one informs you, you don’t even know."

Living only blocks from massive plants she knows the risk but says those plants need to do a better job.

"And earlier they were fixing the bridge so if it was something that was really tragic we couldn’t even get out from this side, and no sirens came on."

Sirens she hears every Monday but during the two explosions in 2013 and then this one, no sound.

"Anything can happen really fast, its just takes only seconds."

But thankfully, no one was hurt and this fire isn’t even comparable to those one year ago.

"All workers are accounted for so they are going to start their investigation into what happened," noted Lt. J.B. Slaton with Louisiana State Police.

So all Debra can do is be aware, and hope nothing happens in the future.

"Whatever the problem is they need to fix it because it’s too close to home and anything can happen,’ said Resendiz. “I mean one can explode another can explode and were right here."

As we mentioned this is the second explosion at the Westlake chemical plant. The first was in 2012. No one was hurt but more than 300 people were told to stay inside because of a possible chemical leak.

The investigation into what exactly happened at Westlake on Wednesday continues.
 

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