Early this morning, at least three people were injured in a massive explosion that occurred at the TPC Group plant in Port Neches, Texas. One of the workers was severely burned and was transported by helicopter to a Houston hospital. Another suffered a broken arm, and the third sustained a fractured leg. TPC Group stated that all other workers have been evacuated.
The explosion also caused extensive damage to homes, schools, and businesses, requiring people to evacuate and find shelter. The company said it has activated its Emergency Response Plan and has requested assistance from the Port Neches Fire Department.
TPC Group Plant Explosion Damages Port Neches
Throughout the morning, more booms could be heard throughout the area as firefighters attempted to control the fire. A Port Neches resident, Roger Wallace said the explosion was so extensive that it blew out the front window of his townhouse and tore an interior door. The Nederland Fire Department in Jefferson County called for evacuations within a half-mile of the plant. Soon after the explosion, clean-up began around Port Neches, as residents and business owners began to pick up the glass and board up windows that were destroyed due to the explosion. The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at the First Baptist Church in Nederland.
Environmental Concerns After the Port Neches Plant Explosion
TPC Group employs more than 175 full-time employees and 50 contractors. Headquartered in Houston, the TPC Group manufactures butadiene and other chemicals used in synthetic rubber, fuels, lubricant additives, surfactants, and plastics. They have various manufacturing facilities located in both Texas and Louisiana. The fire is burning a chemical called butadiene. According to the US National Library of Medicine, this is a colorless gas that’s considered a health hazard.
Butadiene is used to make rubber, neoprene, and tires. When butadiene enters the environment, it’s highly volatile and has low water solubility. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, butadiene has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Short term exposure may cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, along with drowsiness and lightheadedness. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is conducting handheld air monitoring to determine if the explosion has affected the air quality.
"Our focus is on protecting the safety of responders and the public and minimizing any impact to the environment," said TPC Group.
The Port Arthur plant explosion attorneys at Arnold & Itkin will watch this story closely as authorities reveal more details about the cause of this accident. We hope for the quick recovery of those injured during this accident.