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Blast, fire at Louisiana chemical plant

GEISMAR, La. (AP) — Louisiana State Police say a reported explosion has started a fire at a chemical plant and sent at least 30 people to the hospital.

Capt. Doug Cain says the fire broke out Thursday morning at The Williams Companies Inc. plant in the town of Geismar (GYS’-mahr). The plant makes highly flammable gases that are basic building blocks in the petrochemical industry.

The town is about 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. Residents in the surrounding area have been asked by state police to stay indoors and close all windows and doors.

Cain says he doesn’t know how many people were hurt, but sees ambulances taking a couple of people from the plant.

The company’s website says the plant puts out about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene a year.

PM: Skunked In Louisiana

Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, lands his first of three fish totaling 5 pounds 15 ounces on the Red River of Louisiana in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. But that total just moved him up to 48th place among the 49 anglers who competed Saturday. He was the only angler in the competition to get skunked on Day 1. Rich Landers of SR Outdoors reports on the event here.

Louisiana sex convict wanted in Spokane

A Spokane man convicted of a sex offense in Louisiana is wanted by Crime Stoppers for failing to register here. 

Details of Jermaine Geramy Johnson’s May 2004 conviction are not available, but the Spokane County sex offender registry lists him as noncompliant.

An arrest warrant was issued in August for failing to register as a sex offender.

Johnson, 31, has no local criminal convictions, according to Crime Stoppers. The fugitive apprehension organization is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of Johnson.

Johnson, 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, last gave his address as 1729 E. Sprague, apt. C., in Spokane.

He’s a level 1 sex offender, the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Obama Lifts Oil Drilling Moratorium

In this June 24 file photo, oil workers from the Gulf Island Fabrication Yard listen to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal during a speech in Houma, La., where he spoke out against the six-month moratorium on deepwater  drilling, saying it would kill thousands of Louisiana jobs. The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the deep water oil drilling moratorium that the government imposed in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the disastrous BP  oil spill. (AP File Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Question: Do you support President Obama’s decision to left the deep-water, oil-drilling moratorium?

In The News: Oil Rig Burns, Sinks

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning in this Wednesday photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana’s tip. The oil platform that burned for 36 hours after a massive explosion sank into the Gulf of Mexico today. Eleven workers are still missing. Story here. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Question: Have you ever worked in a dangerous job? Tell us about it.