A fire occurred this morning at 11 a.m. at the ExxonMobil Olefins plant that left 37 people injured. The refinery is located at 3525 Decker Drive, 25 miles east of Houston. The fire sent a large plume of smoke, becoming the latest series of petrochemical industrial blazes in the Houston area this year. Exxon’s plant manager said that the fire has been “isolated and contained,” but it hasn’t been fully extinguished. Authorities advise nearby residents to take extra precaution since the fire contains polypropylene material.
When the fire initiated, no injuries were reported. Of the 37 injuries that were recently announced, most of them were minor burns that did not require hospital visits. However, authorities say it is still too early to tell the severity of their injuries. So far, authorities haven’t found any adverse impact on the environment due to the fire, but air monitoring will continue.
Recent Accidents at Baytown ExxonMobil Olefins Plant & Refinery
The Baytown ExxonMobil petrochemical complex has had various accidents in the last few years. The most recent one occurred on March 16. A fire broke out at a hydrotreater in the facility and forced the plant to cut back on gasoline production. Although no one was injured, it did release toxic pollutants for eight days. They agreed to pay $2.5 million in fines to federal and state authorities after being accused of violating the Clean Air Act.
The Baytown ExxonMobil Olefins plant produces ethylene, a chemical used to make plastic and industrial products—it is highly flammable. It is one of the eight plants that Exxon agreed to retrofit with anti-pollution technology in a government settlement. Director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, Adrian Shelley, said in an email that the state and federal authorities need to act to stop accidents like this one from occurring.
“Today’s chemical explosion at the ExxonMobil plant in Baytown is just the latest in an endless list of hazardous incidents that Houston-area communities have been forced to endure,” Mr. Shelley said. “It’s time for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency to get serious about preventing these dangerous fires.”
The plant and refinery attorneys at Arnold & Itkin will continue to closely watch this story as authorities reveal more details about the cause of this accident.