Residents of the Houston area were stunned early this morning by a thunderous crash followed by smoke-filled, orange skies. The boom, which residents of the Clear Lake suburbs felt for at least 20 miles (32 kilometers), stems from Exxon Baytown Refinery and Petrochemical Plants.
Much of the facility erupted in flames, leading to a raging hell that lit up the night in Texas. At least four performers were injured and three were airlifted to hospital, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Two of these workers were reportedly treated for burns, while one was receiving treatment for a 40-foot (12-foot) fall injury, according to local branch KTRK.
Sources said Reuters yes fire and apparent explosion –described by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as a “major industrial accident” – started at a water treatment plant that had been closed the day before due to a bypass leak. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told the New York Times that the source of the fire was still under investigation.
“We came home and we heard a fire burning in the yard and then in the house,” resident Maria Fillmore said local KPRC point of sale. “We saw vehicles flying towards the Exxon factory and we saw cops coming down.”
Concerns about air quality arose almost immediately, but until this writing there are no signs that air quality has fallen to a level unsafe for the local population, according to KTRK. Residents flocked to Sheriff Gonzalez’s Twitter account to clarify whether or not they should evacuate their homes or shelter on the spot. That concern is justified.
The spacious 3,400-acre Baytown plant houses a chemical and olefin plant and the fourth largest oil refinery in the country. says the company it is capable of processing 584,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The site was the source another fire in 2019 in which as many as 37 workers were injured. In that case, residents were invited to take refuge in the place for hours. The plant has also released thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide during last winter in Texas, and was subjected to a A $ 14.25 million lawsuit for violating the Clean Air Act. Exxon is not the only neighbor polluting the environment in the area. Petrochemical plants the Houston Ship Canal line, which Baytown is located near the estuary, which makes it among the most toxic places in the US
Despite extensive reports from residents citing noise, loud rattling and trembling for miles, Exxon carefully avoided using the term “explosion” to describe the event. Exxon published a statement early in the morning claiming that a “fire” had occurred in their facility around 1am local time. The company tweeted that she finally put out the fire just before 9:30 a.m. local time.
“Our first priority is the people in the community and in our facilities,” Exxon said. “Air monitoring continues along the fence. The information available at this time does not show a negative impact. ”
Earther turned to Exxon for clarification on what exactly had happened, but did not receive an immediate answer.