HOUSTON—Officials say a gas leak caused an explosion and brief flash fire at a chemical plant near Houston, resulting in non-life threatening injuries to 21 workers.
Kuraray America says in a news release that ethylene escaping from a safety valve caught fire on Saturday, May 19, at the company’s EVAL plant in Pasadena where 266 workers were on site.
“We have learned during the investigation that we had a pressure relief of a safety valve that led off some ethylene which caused a flash fire which caused the fire at the plant today and caused some of the injuries. We have a total of 21 employees that have been injured,” Chief Investigator Fire Marshal Operations Dean Hensley told the press.
Ethylene is a gas that is not harmful to humans and is used in the production of plastic.
La Porte Emergency Management Lt. John Krueger says the injuries include burns similar to a severe sunburn and back and leg injuries.
The plant’s address is Pasadena, but is located in an unincorporated area between the Houston suburbs.
Plant manager Eric Bass said the company is working with investigators.
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