Chemical explosion in Texas: Stay-at-home-warning issued
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A large explosion in chemical factory an hour from Houston left thousands with a shelter-at-home order on Wednesday. The Emergency Management department in nearby Polk County now warns of the possibility of "acute toxicity" in the smoke.
According to AP, the owner of the plant have claimed the explosion was caused by an accident involving a forklift, and that the incident was under investigation.
One person has been reported injured.
The San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management said that the plant explosion and the following chemical fire occurred Wednesday morning at Sound Resource Solutions, which makes solvents for glue and paint remover, according to an article on NBC News.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said that officials began receiving calls shortly after 8 a.m. regarding an explosion at the plant.
According to FireEngineering.com, Capers said one employee suffered minor burns to his body and was taken to a hospital. He said initial reports indicated the chemicals involved in the fire were flammable liquids, including possibly diesel and turpentine.
The fire was contained by Wednesday afternoon, said San Jacinto County Emergency Management coordinator Emmitt Eldridge. Fire crews had worked with two ladder trucks to put out the fire with foam.
Officials said in a news briefing at 1 p.m. / 13:00 local time that the fire was contained.
Officials said at first that the danger of the airborne chemicals remained "unknown".
Authorities also said that air monitoring was ongoing and so far no chemicals had been detected, according to NBC News.
Nearby Emergency Management Department warned the chemicals involved have "acute toxicity"
However; the BBC writes in their article that the emergency management department in nearby Polk County have warned the chemicals involved in the fire and explosion are " known to have acute toxicity which could cause serious eye damage or eye irritation, skin corrosion or irritation, aspiration hazard, and organ toxicity".
AP reports in their article that officials in San Jacinto County have said the company recycles and repackages various chemicals.
Authorities issued a Shelter-in-Place order for Shepherd, Texas, applicable to those residents living within a one-mile radius (1,6 km) of the chemical plant fire on Wednesday. Initially, the evacuation radius was 5 miles. (8 kms) Initially the stay-at-home order covered a radius of five miles around the plant before being reduced to one mile at 10:30 am.
A private school was also evacuated.
The initial blast occurred around 08:00 local.time
Shepherd is mostly a rural area, located about 60 miles (100 km) to the northeast of Houston.
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