2 Fatalities and Several Injuries in Chemical Plant Accident

2 Fatalities and Several Injuries in Chemical Plant Accident

(TheRedWire.com) – LaPorte, a community near Houston, Texas, is experiencing a rash of incidents involving chemical plants. On Wednesday, July 21, a Dow Chemical plant leaked hydroxyethyl acrylate into the atmosphere and sparked an evacuation and stay-at-home orders.

Less than a week later, the community is living through deja vu. On Tuesday night, a chemical plant owned and operated by LyondellBasell experienced a chemical release that left two dead and 30 workers hospitalized.

Plant officials said they are trying to figure out how approximately 100,000 pounds of food-grade acetic acid leaked. The plant had been shut down earlier for maintenance. In the aftermath of the incident, company officials said the scene was chaotic because Channel Industries Mutual Aid first responders swarmed the scene in response to the emergency. Emergency service personnel didn’t initiate a shelter in place or evacuation orders. Additionally, air quality measurements indicated no impact on the surrounding community.

Acetic acid is an ingredient in food-grade vinegar. Exposed individuals may suffer severe burns to the skin, and the chemical is extremely dangerous if inhaled or swallowed. Cleanup and decontamination crews initiated procedures soon after first responders cleared the incident.

County Fire Marshall Laurie Christensen said the investigation is just beginning. Until proven otherwise, the fire marshal is declaring the event a chemical explosion.

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