One worker is missing and two others sustained serious injuries yesterday in connection with a massive explosion that destroyed a Texas chemical plant just southwest of Fort Worth.
Fire and rescue crews where called to the Tri-Chem Industries facility around 9:45 a.m. on March 15th, after a fire ignited an explosion at the plant on Texas 171 in Cresson, Hood County.
Responders Suspend Search for Missing Tri-Chem Industries Worker
Dylan Mitchell, 27, has been missing since the fire.
Crews suspended the search for Mitchell yesterday morning, indicating that they would not resume their efforts until Friday, at the earliest.
Tragically, the search for Mitchell is now being characterized as a recovery mission.
“I don’t blame anyone, like any of the responders, because it’s messy. It sucks. I feel hollow,” Mitchell’s brother told NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth. “It’s been this long, he’s probably dead.”
According to his family, Mitchell had been employed by Tri-Chem Industries for about four years.
2 Workers Hospitalized, Including 1 With Critical Burns
Two other Tri-Chem workers were injured in the explosion, including one who was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. That individual suffered critical burns to his hands and trunk.
The second injured worker was taken to Lake Granbury Medical Center.
Toxic Chemicals Hindered Fire-Fighting Efforts
The Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson mixed chemicals that are used by the oil and gas industry to drill disposal wells.
About 12 people were employed at the plant, which opened roughly one year ago.
It’s not known how many hazardous chemicals were being stored at the Tri-Chem facility, but Cresson Mayor/Fire Chief Bob Cornett indicated that “what was burnt and exploded was quite toxic.”
“We’ve pulled most of the firefighters off of the property,” Cornett said. “They all have [air tanks] on, but it’s still so hazardous. Any fire department will tell you, if you are fighting a structure fire that is covered by insurance there is no need to get someone hurt or killed.”
Texas Regulator Refuses to Disclose Chemicals Used at Tri-Chem Industries Plant
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) refused a request by the Associated Press for a list of chemicals used at the Tri-Chem facility, directing the news organization to file a formal request.
The Associated Press noted that Texas has made it increasingly difficult in recent years for the public to learn what chemicals are being manufactured and stored at such facilities.
Static Electricity May Have Ignited Tri-Chem Industries Explosion
There is speculation that static electricity may have ignited the deadly explosion.
“What we were told is one of the guys scraped his foot on the floor and the thing blew up from static electricity maybe,” Cornett said. “Other than that, we don’t really know.”
Employee at the plant have special shoes designed to reduce or eliminate static discharge.
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