An explosion and fire ripped through a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and two injured.
The incident comes around two weeks after a major fire broke out at a petrochemical terminal in Deer Park, located around 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the south.
“A transfer line ignited in the area of a tank with isobutylene and the tank caught fire” around 1.30 p.m. local time (0630 GMT) in Crosby, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter.
Residents in a one-mile radius and students and staff at schools in the area were urged to shelter in place.
The Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) later announced that the shelter in place had been lifted at local schools but students and staff were being kept inside as a precautionary measure until normal dismissal.
“We continue to monitor advisories from emergency management,” HCDE said.
The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been on the ground and in the air, and there have been no actionable air pollution detections.
“Parents with kids in impacted schools. Working with all school districts in real-time. Trying to coordinate safe release of all children as soon as possible. We have law enforcement personnel at each site assisting,” Gonzalez said in a tweet.
“There was an incident resulting in an ignition and fire today April 2, 2019 at KMCO, LLC in Crosby, Texas. We are deeply saddened to confirm at this time that there have been injuries and one fatality,” the company’s president and CEO, John C. Foley, said in a statement, apologizing for the inconvenience to the residents in the vicinity.
“We have activated the company's emergency response team and incident command center. We are working with local first responders to extinguish the fire,” he added.
On March 17, a huge plume of smoke billowed over Houston at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) in Deer Park, around 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Houston, after a fire broke out and burned for days. There were no serious injuries reported.
By Kubra Chohan in Houston, Texas