Storage dome collapse sparks investigation at Nucor plant

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 10:41 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

CONVENT, La. -- An investigation is underway at Louisiana's newest steel plant slated to go on-line in a just few weeks.

The Nucor steel plant located in Convent is where a blast was first reported to local authorities on Wednesday afternoon. Investigators are now looking into why a structure collapsed on-site.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshall's Office was spotted leaving the scene four hours after that initial call went out.

Pictures supplied by The Poche Post show the collapsed dome on the site. Nucor steel officials confirm that the storage dome is used to hold raw materials in this case iron ore pellets.

Luckily when it collapsed, no one was hurt.

The St. James Parish Sheriff's Office says it initially responded to a call of an explosion around 3:30 p.m. Sheriff Willy Martin said no hazardous materials leaked out of the dome and there was no threat to the community. The direct-reduced iron plant isn't up and running yet.

"Commissioning that's where you test the equipment and get things running," said Plant Manager Lester Hart regarding an update on the plant's opening.

Nucor Corporation chose the St. James Parish site back in 2010, which is the first phase of a $750 million investment. The goal to create a $3.4 billion complex employing about 1200 people.

On Wednesday night, Hart could only confirm that everyone is OK and that the storage dome collapse is being looked into.

"We do have to do an investigation and it will take some time to do that. The plant is close to start-up," said Hart.

The steel plant was gearing up to open in the next few weeks. No word on what -- if anything -- that collapse might do to the scheduled start date.

 

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