An explosion at a TPC chemical plant in southeastern Texas lit up the sky early Wednesday and shook homes 30 miles away, according to witnesses and images posted on social media..
At least two people were taken to hospitals, Crystal Holmes, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, initially reported. Emergency management officials ordered an evacuation about half a mile from the chemical plant, he said.
“Right now our priority is to ensure the safety of the public and those who are attending the emergency and to minimize the environmental impact,” said the company, which requested assistance at the site of the fire departments of Port Neches and Huntsman.
The Port Neches-Groves area of Texas houses multiple chemical plants. Eyewitnesses reported that there were several secondary explosions after the first major explosion. This area of Jefferson County is located east of Houston and near the limits with the state of Louisiana, where the explosion was also felt.
Explosion rocks Jefferson County
Video of the explosion at TPC Plant. pic.twitter.com/eIAUiNpuqN
— KFDM News (@kfdmnews) November 27, 2019
Multiple videos and images on social networks showed great flames coming out of the place and illuminating the sky. So far the causes of the explosion have not been identified.
Crystal Holmes said search and rescue teams were going door-to-door in surrounding homes, where some residents reported damage from the explosion, which shattered windows and detached some doors in surrounding premises and homes.
Two hours after the incident, firefighters continued to fight the flames.
According to the company’s website, the Port Neches plant can produce more than 900 million pounds (408,233 metric tons) of chemicals.