State, Federal Agencies Investigating Deadly KMCO Plant Explosion in Crosby, Texas
Several state and federal agencies have deployed teams to the KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, following an enormous explosion on Tuesday morning that tragically killed one worker and critically injured two others.
Investigators Won’t Enter KMCO Plant Until Site is Deemed Safe
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board confirmed it would investigate the KMCO plant explosion earlier today, and indicated that interim executive authority Kristen Kulinowski would arrive in the area on Thursday.
The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office has already issued a subpoena ordering KMCO to preserve documents and other evidence related to its investigation, and both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have dispatched personnel to Crosby.
So far, however, it’s unclear when investigators will actually be able to enter the KMCO chemical plant.
“There’s a lot of hot metal in there,” a fire marshal spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle. “Until it’s safe for our guys to go in, they’ll continue doing interviews of everybody that was at work.”
Worker from Daiesetta, Texas Killed in KMCO Plant Explosion
The KMCO plant explosion erupted shortly before 11:00 a.m. on April 2nd, triggering a massive fire that sent yet another plume of potentially toxic smoke into the air above Harris County.
Fire crews worked for five hours to extinguish the blaze, while nearby residents and students were forced to remain indoors.
KMCO later confirmed that an employee had died in the explosion. The 27-year-old Daiesetta man began working at the Crosby facility two years ago, and recently received a promotion.
Life Flight helicopters transferred two critically injured workers to trauma centers in Houston, Texas. Authorities have not released their identities or disclosed the nature of their injuries.
Transmission Line Ignited Near Isobutylene Tank
There’s no word yet on what caused the KMCO plant explosion.
Several employees said they were warned of a leak and ordered to evacuate just moments before the disaster.
“We had to crawl underneath the gate because the gate was locked at the time, so just run,” one worker told ABC13. “We were still in the actual plant when it blew up.”
While it appears a transfer line ignited near a tank containing highly-flammable isobutylene, the ignition source remains unknown.
KMCO Plant Explosion Houston Metro’s 3rd Major Incident in 17 Days
The KMCO plant explosion was the Houston Metro Region’s third major petrochemical disaster in just 17 days.
The first of these highly-disturbing episodes occurred on March 16th, when a fire broke out on a motor gasoline unit at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown. Fortunately, emergency crews contained the blaze within hours and no one suffered any injuries.
A day later, a tank fire erupted at the ITC Deer Park petrochemical terminal, just 15 miles from Crosby. That inferno continued to burn on and off for a week, polluted the Houston Ship Channel, and forced hundreds of people to seek medical attention for nose bleeds, headaches, vomiting, and other symptoms likely related to the clouds of soot and smoke that fouled the atmosphere for days.
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