Firefighters and a HAZMAT crew responded early Tuesday morning to an explosion at the Western International Gas plant in Bellville,Texas. The fire caused by the explosion became so volatile that the evacuation radius was expanded from one mile to five miles by the late morning. According to Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes, the fire's strength forced firefighters to pull back and wait for it to extinguish naturally. In addition to the initial explosion, residents reported numerous several more loud blasts throughout the morning. Thick smoke from the raging blaze forced the closure of a stretch of nearby Highway 159. Firefighters hosed down the scene in order to further reduce the risk of more explosions.
According to the company's website, Western International Gas produces acetylene for use in the processes of welding and cutting. The plant is located approximately 5 miles from the town of Bellville and about 60 miles from Houston. There are currently no reported injuries or deaths as the building was empty in the early hours when the explosion occurred.
Repeated industrial incidents throughout Texas have taught us that relaxed regulations and negligent practices are too common in workplaces that have an inherent risk of explosion. Plant explosions such as this one place workers and surrounding residents at unnecessary risk. It’s simple: everyone deserves an environment free from the risk of being seriously injured. It is incredibly fortunate that the large building was empty at the time of the incident.
If you have experienced a similar event or have any questions, our plant explosion attorneys are ready to assist you. Arnold & Itkin hope that officials are able to eventually determine the cause of this explosion. Increased awareness will only serve to lessen the amount of plant explosions that occur. If you would like to speak to an attorney, contact us online or call at (888) 493-1629.