An explosion rocked a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas early Tuesday morning. The force of the blast was strong enough to be felt by nearby residents. Authorities identified the plant as the KMCO chemical plant located off Old Highway 90 at the intersection of Ramsey Road and Crosby Dayton Road. While details are still emerging about the accident, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez revealed that one worker was killed and at least two workers suffered injuries in the blast.
Live footage of the fire showed a massive plume of black smoke over the plant. Authorities ordered all residents and schools within one mile of the plant to shelter in place as firefighters battle the blaze. The explosion comes just weeks after the Intercontinental Terminals Company plant explosion in Deer Park, approximately 25 miles away.
What Does the KMCO Plant Produce?
According to the company’s website, KMCO LLC “delivers superior specialty chemical manufacturing and toll processing service to many of the world’s largest chemical companies."
Chemical products produced by KMCO include the following:
- Brake fluid
- Oilfield products
- Glycol products
- Cement grinding products
As thick black smoke rose over Crosby, reporters on live television described a strong smell in the air. As of Tuesday morning, officials have not been able to test the air quality in the area officially.
KMCO Had Another Explosion in 2010 & A History of Violations
In 2011, the KMCO chemical plant was the site of another explosion. The blast injured two workers who needed to be transported by helicopter for medical assistance. Then, in 2016, The Houston Chronicle published an alarming investigation into the safety history of the plant. The investigation found that Harris County sued the KMCO plant in 2008 for spills and fumes that caused headaches for nearby residents. The lawsuit ended with KMCO receiving orders to pay $100,000 in civil penalties. Additionally, the lawsuit ordered the company to give investigators easy access to the facility and to give immediate reports of any chemical releases. In addition to the explosion, the investigation found that the plant had dozens of violations since 2010.
In 2016, Harris County launched an investigation after reports of black sludge in a nearby creek. According to records, the investigator of this substance suffered an orange-sized knot at the base of her neck and experienced headaches. Then, in 2017, KMCO was investigated because of an unnatural odor near the plant. The company was fined nearly $38,000 for improper air and water emissions from their Crosby plant and for failing to report the emissions quickly.
The chemical plant explosion attorneys from Arnold & Itkin will continue to follow this story as it develops.