Screen shot of the Guardian´s YouTube video form the petrochemical fire in Texas.
03 Dec 2019

60,000 forced to evacuate during huge petrochemical fire in Texas

Hazardous Materials
Communication Group
Industrial Fires
Large Fire Volumes

Four cities in Texas were evacuated Wednesday last week due to a huge fire in a petrochemical plant in Port Neches.Texas authorities state that 60,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

Black sooty flakes was flying around in the air and the fire authorities were urgent people not to touch it, due to potential chemical contamination. 

The night towards Wednesday, local time, residents of Port Neches in Texas were awakened by a violent explosion, caused by a petrochemical plant in the city being deep in flames.

Later in the day, it was announced that 60,000 people were forced to leave their homes after a second explosion occurred. Four cities was to be emptied of people, reports Reuters.

"The black stuff that flutters around in the air, don´t touch it," Troy Monk, safety and environmental manager at TPC Group, which owns the factory, told ABC News.

According to Reuters news bureau, the Port Neches, Texas, site was burning for six days after the explosion that injured three workers and prompted the evacuation of about 60,000 residents over worries that storage tanks could ignite and explode.

The fire was, was however soon contained and officials allowed residents to return to their homes already on Friday.

The Texas petrochemical plant, still burning on Monday will be out of operation for an extended period, according to a letter to workers viewed by Reuters.

TPC Group Chief Executive Edward Dineen told the plant’s about 175 workers they would be paid through year-end but the facility which makes chemicals used in synthetic rubber and gasoline, would close “for an extended period,” the Friday letter to staff said.

A TPC spokeswoman was not immediately available to discuss Dineen’s message.

By end of the year, “if not sooner, we hope to have a better handle on the situation at (Port Neches), including recovery team needs and potential rebuild team needs,” Dineen said in his letter to workers.