Port Neches, TX – An early-morning explosion Tuesday at a petrochemical plant rocked the city and injured three workers.
A chemical fire continues to burn at the site, and a mandatory evacuation order was issued within a half-mile of the TPC Group plant, about 90 miles east of Houston.
A series of smaller explosions occurred throughout the day, and a larger one in the afternoon launched a tower into the air with balls of fire.
According to OH&S, many residents were woken up and shaken by the explosion.
About 13,000 people live in Port Neches, and some said their home windows were blown out by the blast.
The fire is burning a chemical called butadiene, police said. A colorless gas, butadiene is considered a health hazard, according to the US National Library of Medicine. It is made from processing petroleum and is used to make synthetic rubber and plastics.
The explosion involved three burning tanks, and emergency response teams were at the plant working to prevent the blaze from spreading. Crews are reportedly still trying to keep surrounding storage tanks cool.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the butadiene levels at a monitoring station about 4 miles west of the incident, “are well below concentrations of health concern or odorous levels.”