PORT NECHES, Texas (AP) — A plant that produces chemical and petroleum-based products in East Texas has exploded, blowing out windows on homes several miles away. Concerns about a chemical plume led to an order to shelter in place.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick says the explosion originated at a plant in Port Neches, about 135 miles east of Houston, on Wednesday at about 1 a.m.
Branick says no deaths and three injuries have been reported so far, saying it was amazing given the extent of the damage.
TPC Group says on its website that it provides a diverse range of quality products to chemical and petroleum-based companies worldwide. The site says the company employs more than 175 full-time employees and 50 contractors at the Port Neches location. It produces butadiene and raffinate.
The Nederland Volunteer Fire Department said on its Facebook page that there is a mandatory evacuation for everyone within a half mile of the TPC plant. It said the evacuation could expand to a greater area.
Orange County Judge John Gothia called for a shelter in place north of the plant due to winds carrying a chemical plume. Residents were urged to close windows and turn off their fans and air conditioning units.