Dow, Plaquemine: flash fire injures 3 line crew workers

JOHN A. COLVIN, THE ADVOCATE, SEPTEMBER 15, 2006
A flash fire at Dow Chemical’s Louisiana Operations site in Plaquemine sent three contract employees to the hospital Thursday.
The employees were part of a line crew performing preventive maintenance following a recent electrical line failure as a result of lightning, Dow spokesman Gary Cambre said.
Dow did not release the victims’ names or their employer’s name to assure all of the families are notified.
Shortly after the 8:45 a.m. incident, ambulances transported the victims to a hospital, and Dow began an official, internal investigation, Cambre said.
Although the investigation is incomplete, Cambre said an electrical arc fire is to blame.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an arc fire occurs when electrical insulation is broken, causing an electric current to pass through the air.
The flash is immediate, but the result of these incidents can cause severe injury including burns, according to the organization’s Web site. Each year, more than 2,000 people are treated in burn centers with severe arc-flash injuries.
The Dow site had not experienced any chemical or environmental releases due to the incident, and its operations continued uninterrupted, Cambre said Thursday afternoon.
The conditions of the electrical workers or the severity of the injuries were unknown Thursday afternoon.

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