Explosion at Texas chemicals facility

Article by Amanda Doyle

THREE people have been injured in an explosion at the Texas Petroleum Chemical (TPC) Group facility Texas, US.

The explosion occurred at the Port Neches site at around 01:00 local time today. Three people have been injured, and the rest of the 175 employees and 50 contractors have been evacuated and accounted for, according to a statement from TPC.

According to Reuters, the initial explosion was followed by several secondary blasts. The explosion was reportedly felt 48 km away. A spokesperson for Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told The New York Times that it looked like around half of the refinery was on fire.

Some homes nearby have sustained heavy damage and there has been a mandatory evacuation of residents within 0.8 km. Search-and-rescue teams are going door-to-door to check for injured or trapped residents. According to the Nederland Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page, the evacuation zone could be extended to a larger area.

The statement from TPC said that the explosion involved a processing unit and that it had activated its Emergency Response Plan and requested assistance from Port Neches Fire Department and Huntsman. “Right now our focus is on protecting the safety of responders and the public, and minimising any impact to the environment.”

TPC produces products from petrochemical raw materials. Its products include butadiene, fuel products, and isobutylene derivatives, and it has a combined capacity of 408,233 t/y.

The incident comes a week after the Environmental Protection Agency rescinded a rule that was designed to improve safety at chemical facilities.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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