First Chemical fined for Pascagoula explosion

By WLOX Staff

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - First Chemical Corp has agreed  to pay $731,000 in civil penalties to the federal government. The fine is the result of a settlement of a Clean Air Act violation claim stemming from an explosion at the Pascagoula plant back in October 2002.

The claim said that 1,200 pounds of a extremely hazardous chemical were released during the blast and that company failed to meet the general duty requirement.

In a statement, First Chemical said since the time of the incident DuPont has acquired the Pascagoula site, and implemented safeguards and process safety systems to prevent such an incident from happening again.

In addition, the company said it has worked with the Chemical Safety Board to share what it has learned from this incident to help prevent similar incidents at other chemical plants worldwide.

Here's the complete statement from James Freeman, First Chemical's Site Manager:

The fine is associated with a serious incident that occurred in the Mononitrotouene Distillation column in October, 2002. At the time of the incident the site was not owned or operated by DuPont.

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