Pump Failure Leads to Geismer Plant Fire

Monday, April 6, 2015 @ 05:04 PM gHale

A seal in a hydraulic pump failed causing a plant fire that injured two people at a Renewable Energy Group facility in Geismar, LA, Thursday night, state police said.

The fire, which the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said ended up reported at 6:30 p.m., may have started when a seal in a hydraulic pipe went out, Louisiana State Police spokesman Lt. J.B. Slaton said.

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The plant is a diesel production facility, and the material that caught fire was diesel fuel, he said.

“Everybody’s been accounted for, the plant has been evacuated at this time,” Slaton said. No other plants in the area ended up evacuated, and there was no shelter-in-place order for local residents. The two hurt workers will survive the injuries, police said.

By about 9:30 p.m. Slaton said the fire was fully out and officials were putting water on plant equipment and watching temperatures and gauges to make sure the area is safe to begin investigating the fire.

“Safety’s the main thing,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure the scene is safe for them to go in and conduct the investigation.”

That process could take several hours through the night, he said.

Slaton did not have information on whether the people injured were Renewable Energy Group employees or contractors.

The Geismar plant, according to the company’s website, is a renewable hydrocarbon diesel production facility. It produces about 75 million gallons of renewable hydrocarbon diesel and renewable naphtha.

Ames, Iowa-based REG acquired the Geismar facility in 2014.

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