Briefs from Tribune news services
One dead, 77 hurt in chem plant explosion
Geismar, La. • A ground-rattling explosion Thursday at a chemical plant in Louisiana ignited a blaze that killed one person and injured dozens of others, authorities said. Witnesses described a chaotic scene of towering flames and workers scrambling over gates to escape the plant.
"There was fire in excess of 100 to 200 feet in the air," said state Sen. Troy Brown, who felt the blast at his house, less than five miles away. "It was scary to see."
Louisiana's health department said 77 people were treated at hospitals, with 51 being released by the evening.
Police identified the man killed as 29-year-old Zachary C. Green, of Hammond.
Inspector of collapsed building found dead
Philadelphia • A city building inspector whose assignments included the demolition site where six people died last week has been found dead from a gunshot wound, an apparent suicide, police say.
Police officers found the body of Ronald Wagenhoffer, 52, about 9 p.m. Wednesday in a pickup truck in the city's Upper Roxborough section.
He had a gunshot wound to the chest, in what police called an apparent suicide. The medical examiner will make the final determination as to manner of death.
Wagenhoffer's name appears on a timeline released by the city as the Licenses and Inspections Department expert who inspected a demolition site on the 2100 block of Market Street on May 14, responding to a citizen complaint. At the time, one two-story building had been torn down and a larger four-story structure was largely intact.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison praised Wagenhoffer as a good, dedicated employee who was not responsible for the accident. "I will state right here, right now, this man did nothing wrong," Gillison told reporters.
Caterpillar no longer supports Boy Scouts
Peoria, Ill. • Boy Scouts of America says it is disappointed Caterpillar Inc. will no longer give money to the group.
But public relations director Deron Smith on Thursday thanked the Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer for its past support.
Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts said Thursday that the Caterpillar Foundation has decided to withdraw its supports for Boy Scouts of America. Potts says the company believes the group's policy barring homosexual adults from serving as scout leaders is discriminatory.
Potts said the decision wasn't necessarily related to the Boy Scouts of America's recent decision to allow homosexual Scouts, while still prohibiting participation by openly homosexual adults.
Other companies such as United Parcel Service and Intel Corporation stopped supporting the Scouts well before the recent decision.
Gunman shoots 3, himself in St. Louis
St. Louis • An argument inside a St. Louis home health care business escalated into gun violence Thursday when a man shot three other people before turning the gun on himself, police said.
The shooting occurred at AK Home Health Care LLC, one several small businesses inside the Cherokee Place Business Incubator south of downtown St. Louis. The shooter gunned down another man and two women before turning his semi-automatic handgun on himself, Police Capt. Michael Sack said.
Authorities said the shooter either owned or was a co-owner of the small business and his three victims were employees.
"We don't know if this was a thing that carried over into today or was initiated today," Sack told reporters.
Police said surveillance video showed what appeared to be a verbal dispute, followed a short time later by gunshots penetrating an inside wall. The video showed that no one else had gone into the building other than the four people who were killed, the St. Louis Police Department said in details posted on its official Twitter account.
An employee of another business in the building heard gunshots and called police.
The victims' names have not been released,
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