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Staff and wire reports

DONALDSONVILLE, La. - One person was killed and seven others were injured after an explosion occurred while a truck was offloading nitrogen at the CF Industries plant in Donaldsonville Friday night.

State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson said the plant was in the midst of a turnaround and that there was no amonia on site. He said the explosion was mechanical in nature and that there was no fire and no one outside of the plant was compromised.

'There is no hazardous material, nothing offsite, because there was nothing here, just the nitrogen that was being offloaded,' said State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley identified the deceased as 56-year-old Ronald 'Rocky'Morris. Edmonson said Morris died instantly near the explosion. Wiley said all of the other injured were either fair or stable in area hospitals.

The incident occurred around 6:45 p.m. Friday, just a day after two people were killed and 77 were injured at a plant in Geismar Thursday.

'It's been a trying time in Ascension Parish the past few days,' said Sheriff Jeff Wiley, alluding to Friday night's deadly incident along with the fatal explosion about 20 miles away in Geismar Thursday.

The CFIndustries web site says the Donaldsonville plant is 'North America's largest and, in many respects, its most flexible nitrogen operation. It can produce and ship approximately 5 million tons of nitrogen for agricultural and industrial uses each year.'

This isn't the first deadly blast at the company's Donaldsonville plant. Three workers were killed and nine others were injured by an explosion and fire at the facility in May 2000.

Later that year, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposed a fine of nearly $150,000 against CF Industries. OSHA cited the company for 14 alleged safety and health violations, 12 of which were described by the agency as serious. The company didn't contest the citations and agreed to pay the penalties.

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