Chemical Plant in Port Neches, TX Exploded Twice, Nearby Towns Evacuated
A chemical manufacturing plant in Port Neches, TX owned by Texas Petroleum Chemicals exploded twice on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. The blasts spread fire and harmful gasses throughout the area, spurring the evacuation of Port Neches and other nearby towns.
The initial explosion occurred at approximately 1 a.m. In the afternoon, the plant exploded a second time.
Texas Petroleum Chemicals, also known as TPC Group, manufactures chemicals that are used in the production of fuels, rubber, plastics, and lubricants. One chemical that is manufactured at the plant is 1,3-Butadiene, a colorless gas that has been associated with a risk of cancer.
There were about 30 TPC Group employees at the plant at the time of the first explosion, reported USA Today. Two workers and a contractor were injured in the incident, and several residents sustained minor injuries caused by broken glass. Following the second blast, Port Neches, Groves, Nederland, and northern Port Arthur were evacuated. Areas in Orange County were under a shelter-in-place order.
Plant Had a History of Safety Violations
The TPC Group plant in Port Neches, TX “has been considered a high priority violator by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more than two years, and been out of compliance with federal clean air laws since the agency’s last inspection in August 2017,” according to The Texas Tribune. The article continues to explain that “the facility has reported spewing more air pollution than allowed by its government-issued permits five times this year, including hundreds of pounds of butadiene.” The plant has been fined for air pollution violations several times and was ordered to improve its equipment and monitoring procedures.
It is not uncommon for plants with a history similar to that of the Port Neches plant to eventually explode or catch fire. Texas residents may recall the International Terminals Company (ITC) plant fire in Deer Park in March 2019, an event that released clouds of gas into the air. The ITC plant, like the TPC Group plant, was a frequent violator of environmental regulations.
Officials and first responders in Port Neches are still working to combat the effects of the recent explosions. Air quality is being monitored, but the full impact of the incident on the environment is currently unknown.
The Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. legal team is prepared to represent people whose homes and businesses were damaged in the Port Neches chemical plant explosion. If you have a claim, get in touch with our lawyers to discuss how we can help you recover compensation.
To schedule a no-cost case evaluation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (877) 958-7920.