GEISMAR - Emergency responders says dozens of people have been taken to local hospitals for injuries after a chemical plant explosion this morning in Ascension Parish.

State Police have confirmed one fatality at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, and 73 others have been taken to area hospitals.

State Police Capt. Doug Cain said around 600 people were working in the plant at the time of the explosion. That included contract workers as well as plant employees, and State Police said they were being evacuated to staging areas where people could pick them up.

To check on loved ones, call 1-866-380-2303.

The explosion happened at 8:37 this morning, according to a statement sent out by Williams Olefins. State Police said just before noon that the chemical burning was ethylene propylene, a type of rubber.

State Police closed LA 30 at LA 74, LA 30 at LA 73, LA 74 at LA 3115 and LA 75 at LA 3115 while they work this incident.

Emergency managers initially asked people to shelter in place, then lifted that just before noon. They said the Univar, Honeywell, PCS Nitrogen, and Innophos plants in the area were still being asked to shelter in place.

The plant's website says they create 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene each year.