Around 7:30 a.m. in La Porte, Texas, an explosion occurred at an Air Liquide cylinder plant. The facility, which is located at 11450 W. Fairmont Parkway, is responsible for the mixing of several chemicals. According to a spokesperson of the company, Michael Rosen, "It's a combination of mixing the proportions, of course, put together through a computer process and we have employees who move the bottles, connect them and put things together. So it's a combination of automation and human activity."
Investigators are stating that the plant explosion occurred during the process of mixing chemicals; a process which is done for quality control purposes. That being said, the exact cause of the incident is still not clear. According to the official Air Liquide site, American Air Liquide is responsible for offering industrial gases to customers from a wide-variety of large industries. Headquartered in Houston, TX, they employ more than 5,000 American workers and have more than 200 locations, which includes 140 industrial plants.
Rosen stated that there are about 20 different employees who are assigned to work at this La Porte facility in particular; however, it is unclear how many of them would have been called in to work on a Saturday. All that is known at this point is that one of the employees, whom suffered severe burns, was airlifted to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston following the incident. Per the most recent reports, the company is not able to account for one employee who is believed to have been at the plant.
Following the explosion, officials issued shelter-in-place orders to all of the surrounding areas, including some different areas of Pasadena, Texas. A shelter-in-place order occurs when public authorities call for potential victims in an area to take shelter in readily available locations; these victims must be sealed into the area and shut off all HVAC systems. The Harris County Office of Emergency Management stated that the La Porte shelter in place order was quickly lifted; the order in Pasadena, TX lasted until 9:45 a.m.
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