ADM not sure why grain elevator exploded

Parish says explosion was never threat to neighbors

An explosion at the ADM Grain Elevator in Destrehan last Thursday morning left some residents puzzled about what caused an inside section of the grain elevator to blow up.

Raoul and Carolyn Laurent, of 121 Pelican Street, were jolted out of bed when they heard a loud popping sound.

“It sounded like a transformer blowing up,” Raoul said. “The whole street went dark, and we were without power for a few hours.”
The following morning, residents realized there was an explosion at ADM.

“I don’t know, but rumors are that it was an explosion that occurred from inside the grain elevator,” Raoul said. “That’s why there wasn’t a whole lot of dust and other impacts to the community.”

David Weintraub, a public information officer for ADM, said that there were no injuries as a result of the grain explosion and the incident is still under investigation.

“Our primary concern is always the safety of our colleagues,” Weintraub said. “We are relieved that nobody was injured and that everyone has been accounted for.”

Weintraub says that ADM doesn’t know the full extent of the damage or when the facility will be fully operational, but they are working as quickly as possible to assess the damage.

“We are going to repair the Destrehan facility,” Weintraub said. “In the mean time, we will operate out of our St. Elmo facility, which will be sufficient to ensure continuity of operations.”

Jason Tastet, a senior emergency coordinator for St. Charles Parish, says residents didn’t get a phone message to notify the community about the explosion because there was no threat to homes.

“There was no offsite impact, besides a power outage,” Tastet said. “Our role at the Emergency Operations Center was to coordinate the activities of the responding agencies, like the fire department and the sheriff’s office.”

Tastet said he did send out emergency call messages to some residents  later – during the morning hours when traffic started to pile up.

“There are some residents who signed up on the parish Web site to be notified voluntarily in case of emergencies and those are the ones who were contacted strictly because of traffic concerns,” Tastet said.

Tastet said it took about 13 hours to clear up the incident at ADM.

“Our first call came in at 1:33 a.m.,” he said. “Larry Cochran was the  fire chief on scene that responded to the accident along with five other units from various parts of the parish.”


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