One Week After TPC Plant Explosion, Port Neches Placed Under Voluntary Evacuation Order
A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for residents of Port Neches, Texas, one week after the TPC petrochemical plant explosion forced thousands of people in several Gulf Coast communities out of their homes.
Port Neches Air Monitors Detected High Levels of Butadeine
Wednesday’s ordeal began with a shelter-in-place order that went into effect around 6:00 p.m., after monitors around Port Neches began picking up high levels of 1,3-butadeine, a gas known to be associated with cancer. Jefferson County Emergency Management officials announced the current voluntary evacuation order just hours later.
“As of 10:00 p.m. this evening, based on current conditions and out of an abundance of caution, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick issued a voluntary evacuation order for the City of Port Neches, updating the previous shelter-in-place order issued earlier this evening for the area,” an advisory stated. “The voluntary evacuation order will remain in effect until further notice.”
County officials have advised residents to leave the area as quickly and safely as possible. Only nursing homes, refining facilities, hospitalized patients and healthcare workers are exempt.
Port Neches-Groves Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the week.
What to Know About Butadiene Exposure
Butadiene is a colorless, highly-flammable gas used to manufacture synthetic rubber, resins and an octane-boosting component of gasoline.
In addition to being a known carcinogen, exposure to butadiene may also cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, irritated eyes and throat. Authorities have urged those living in communities affected by the TPC Port Neches explosion to leave if they experience any of these symptoms.
According to Jefferson County Emergency Management, monitors continue to pick up the highest levels of butadiene in the Earle, Merriman and Saybrook areas.
TPC Plant Explosion Impacted 6 Southeast Texas Communities
Port Neches was one of six southeast Texas communities that were subject to mandatory evacuation order beginning November 27th, after two explosions and a massive fire erupted at the TPC Group’s petrochemical refinery off highway 366.
Other affected communities included Groves, Nederland, Central Gardens, Beauxart Gardens and parts of Port Arthur. More than 60,000 people were forced out of their homes through Thanksgiving Day, while schools in the evacuated communities remained closed until Tuesday.
The TPC Port Neches plant explosion also injured three workers, caused extensive damage to homes and other structures in the area, and scattered charred debris, as well as a white, chalky substance believed to be cancer-causing asbestos, across roadways, yards, and vehicles.
TPC Group Plans to Rebuild Port Neches Plant
A team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating the TPC Plant Explosion, but it could be some time before a cause is identified.
Earlier this week, the Texas Tribune reported that the TPC petrochemical plant in Port Neches had a history of serious environmental violations. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated the facility a “high-priority violator” for the last two years.
While the TPC Group has confirmed that the plant will remain closed for an extended period of time, the company is paying workers through the end of the year and intends to rebuild.
“At our Port Neches site, we will need significant support for the Emergency Response Team and site recovery resources in 2020,” a TPC Group spokesperson said in a written statement to Reuters. “There will also be resource needs to assist the various investigations. Beyond that we will need resources to define our rebuild options and then rebuild the site.”
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Our Undefeated Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers continue to investigate the TPC plant explosion in Port Neches and will post new updates when additional information becomes available.
Having recovered over $1 billion for thousands of workers in Texas, Louisiana, and across the United States following the worst industrial explosions and workplace catastrophes in recent history, our Texas Personal Injury Lawyers will devote all of the time and resources needed to ensure the victims of this disaster are fully compensated for all of their injuries and losses.
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