Response operations continue following Texas chemical plant blasts in Texas

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-30 03:10:14|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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HOUSTON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Emergency response crews on Friday remained on site working to manage the fire caused by explosions at a chemical plant owned by TPC Group in Port Neches, about 150 km east of downtown Houston, U.S. state of Texas.

According to the news release issued by the company Friday morning, air monitoring continued through the evening into the morning and results indicated no human health concerns.

Three people were injured early Wednesday morning in the first blast, leading to a nearby neighborhood being evacuated.

TPC Group said there were 30 individuals on site when the first blast occurred and all three of the injured individuals were later allowed home after being treated.

The second evacuation order was issued Wednesday afternoon after another explosion occurred. The blast caused a tower to fall, but there were no reports of major injuries outside the plant.

According to TPC Group, the incident occurred in its south processing unit and involved a tank filled with finished butadiene, a chemical used in the production of synthetic rubber for tires. The cause has not yet been determined.

The most recent explosion in Port Neches has made it the fifth plant fire in southeast Texas this year.

The Intercontinental Terminal Company (ITC) in Deer Park, about 40 km southeast of downtown Houston, burned for several days in late March after a fire there.

No one was hurt in the incident, but there was extensive damage to the tanks on the property and leaks to nearby river. Local residents were directed to seek shelters, staying indoors and closing windows and doors.

Over two weeks later, a fire occurred at a KMCO plant in Crosby, about 40 km northeast of Houston, leaving one person killed and two others critically injured.

In August, the ExxonMobil plant in Baytown, about 40 km east of downtown Houston, had a fire and 37 people were treated for injuries with no life threatening. The city of Baytown issued a precautionary order to shelter in place.

The ExxonMobil was sued then by Harris County, with Houston as the county seat, for violating the Texas Clean Air Act due to the release of pollutants.

In September, an explosion and fire erupted in a plant owned by the Celanese Corporation in Clear Lake area of Pasadena, about 40 km southeast of downtown Houston. Fortunately, no individuals were harmed during the explosion and subsequent fire.