Lake Charles, LA Compressor Explosion, Dec 1985


In Lake Charles, La., a hydrogen compressor at the Citgo Oil refinery exploded and ignited a flash fire that killed three workers who were trying to repair it, said plant manager R. J. Carleton. Two other workers suffered minor burns.
The cause of the 11:30 a.m. Louisiana blast was still under investigation, said Kent Young, a Citgo spokesman who traveled to the plant from the company's Tusla, Okla., headquarters.
Carleton said "there was a substantial release of hydrogen, which exploded and continued to burn until it was extinguished" about 15 minutes later.
The three dead employees and two injured workers were in the compressor when it exploded, said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's spokesman John Scott Doyle.
The dead were identified as:
VERNON N. KEETON, 58, of Lake Charles.
CLARENCE OAKES, 52, of DeQuincy.
Machinist apprentice RHONDA B. STOCKMAN, 30, of Ragley.
JOSEPH GUILLORY of Welch, and MAYFIELD HARRIS of Lake Charles were treated for first and second degree burns on their faces and hands.

Roswell Daily Record New Mexico 1985-12-06