CARVILLE- There are still more questions than answers after an explosion at a chemical plant Monday night. People living near Honeywell Manufacturing plant say they were scared.
“I was woke up by a BOOM. Me and my husband ran out thinking our car had exploded,” Patricia Arnold said.
“It shook everything up,” Mark Tasker said.
The incident was all clear by 9:30 p.m. A spokesperson sent the following statement saying there was no risk to the community.
“Honeywell’s Geismar facility experienced a process unit incident shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday, January 23. Working in conjunction with the Ascension Parish sheriff’s department, an all-clear was declared approximately an hour later after concluding there was no risk to the community from this incident. As safety is always our first priority at Honeywell, we immediately notified state and local authorities, and a precautionary shelter in place for employees at the site and neighboring manufacturing facilities was issued. There were no known injuries to employees at our site or neighboring facilities. Honeywell is working with the appropriate agencies to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident and the impacted units are currently shut down.” -Mike Hockey, Director, External Communications said.
One man says he was outside when he heard the explosion, and started to feel sick shortly after.
“Queasy in my stomach, a little burning in my throat,” Mark Tasker said.
Workers at the plant sheltered in place while people living nearby say they spent hours wondering what they heard.
“It’s like they don’t care about us,” Tasker said.
Ascension Parish deputies shut down roads nearby as a precaution. There were no other alerts explaining the situation.
“Didn’t hear nothing ’til you walked in here today,” Tiwanda Tasker said.
Many who have lived in Carville long before the plant opened in 2017 are concerned about what the chemicals do to them. According to past Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality reports this is not the first time there has been an accidental chemical release. In the years past, workers have died from exposure.
“The plant done took over, they don’t care about anyone in this town,” Tasker said.
There are sirens near the homes, however they only go off if there is an immediate threat to the people living there.
We also asked the company if there was an alert system people could sign up for they told us to check with local authorities. We’re waiting to hear back.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.