OSHA, Company Investigate Louisiana Plant Explosion

Jan. 21, 2000
OSHA inspectors and company engineers will try to determine what caused an explosion and fire at the Pennzoil-Quaker State refinery in Louisiana Tuesday night.

OSHA inspectors are looking into Tuesday's jarring explosion and fire at the Pennzoil-Quaker State refinery in Shreveport, La., The Shreveport Times reported yesterday.

Damage wreaked by the accident has shut down plant operations, however employees still will report to work and be paid during the indefinite shutdown, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The blast and subsequent blaze injured two workers on Tuesday night, one seriously.

Longtime plant employee Thomas Brown, 45, remained in critical condition in LSU Hospital-Shreveport's burn unit Wednesday night, according to The Times.

"He has second- and third-degree burns all over his body. He is heavily medicated," said his mother, Carol Brown, 58.

Travis Hill, 36, a systems operator was also treated for smoke inhalation Tuesday and was released from a local hospital.

Pennzoil-Quaker State formed teams of engineers Wednesday to try to pinpoint why the explosion occurred.

Meanwhile, OSHA will conduct its own investigation.

"We are concerned about employee safety, as I'm sure the company is," said Betty Wilson, an OSHA officer told The Times. "We could levy fines, depending on what we find."

Structural damage was largely confined to a unit used in producing gasoline. But a control room near the unit also was damaged, affecting boilers essential to operations.

It remains unclear as to when plant operations could expect to resume.

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