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Explosion at Texas Petroleum Processing Plant Results in a Massive Fire

The surrounding community is under a shelter-in-place order as residents are told to avoid contact with the toxic smoke.

Aerial view of chemical fire in Shepherd, Texas on November 8, 2023.

At least one worker was reported injured and the surrounding community placed under a shelter-in-place order after an explosion at a chemical plant in the town of Shepherd, Texas on Wednesday resulted in a monstrous and toxic fire.

Roughly 60 miles north of Houston in Jacinto County, the explosion and subsequent chemical blaze took place at the Sound Resource Solutions facility, a petroleum processing plant. A source told ABC 13 News that a 1,000-gallon propane tank sits in the middle of the fire while various highly flammable toxic chemicals and materials are used at the plant.

“Polk County Emergency Management recommends that residents along US Hwy 59 from Goodrich to Leggett shelter-in-place and turn off HVAC systems in homes and businesses immediately,” said a local emergency response from officials in neighboring Polk County. “At this time, the effects of the chemical in the air are unknown.”

According to the Sound Resource Solutions website, the chemical products and solvents used or generated at the processing plant include: xylene, toluene, acetone, methy ethyl ketone, phosphoric acid, acetic acid, sulfuric acid 93, various isoproply alcohols, hexan, and others.

Local affiliate Fox 26 was providing live coverage:

There is no confirmed information about the cause of the fire, though some local outlets reported talking with workers who said a forklift accident may have been the initial cause that set off a larger chain reaction.

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