UPDATE: Nov. 27, 10:15 a.m.
Environmental officials are monitoring the air quality after an explosion at a Texas plant sent a huge plume of smoke into the sky.
Jefferson County Emergency Management coordinator Mike White tells the Beaumont Enterprise that no elevated chemical levels have been detected so far after the 1 a.m. Wednesday explosion at a TPC Group plant in Port Neches, about 80 miles east of Houston.
Two TPC employees and a contractor were injured in the blast, which also blew out windows and knocked down doors at nearby homes. White says five residents are being treated for minor injuries, mostly related to shattered glass.
TPC said later Wednesday morning that it had no details on the cause of the explosion or the extent of damage to the plant.
PORT NECHES, Texas (AP) — A chemical company says three people were injured in an explosion at its plant in East Texas. The powerful blast blew out the windows of homes and sent a chemical plume blowing over neighborhoods miles away.
The explosion happened at about 1 a.m. Wednesday at the TPC Group Port Neches plant, which produces chemical and petroleum-based products. Fires were still burning hours later, lighting up the night sky with orange flames and thick smoke near the Louisiana state line.
The Nederland Volunteer Fire Department warned people living south of Interstate 10 near the plant to minimize their exposure to the chemical plume by sheltering in place, closing windows and turning off their heating and air conditioning systems. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for everyone within a half mile of the TPC plant, and the fire department said that evacuation could expand to wider area.
A statement by TPC Group said all personnel at the site have been evacuated and accounted for, and three people were being treated for injuries.
KDFM TV in Beaumont reported that County Judge Jeff Branick says it’s a miracle that no one died. Branick said one worker suffered burns and was taken by medical helicopter to a Houston hospital. The others had a broken wrist and a broken leg.