HOUSTON (AP) — A tank holding a flammable chemical caught fire at a Texas plant Tuesday, killing one worker, critically injuring two others and sending panicked employees fleeing over a fence to safety.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed the fatality in a tweet and said the two injured had been taken by helicopter to a hospital. The two injured were in critical condition, said Rachel Moreno, spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Authorities shut down a roadway near Tuesday’s fire at a KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston, Gonzalez said. Fire crews battled the blaze for about 5 ½ hours before they extinguished it, according to the fire marshal’s office.
All residents within a one-mile radius of the plant were ordered to stay indoors or shelter in place for about four hours. It was not immediately known how many residents were affected by the shelter in place. Crosby has about 2,300 residents. The fire sent a large black plume of smoke into the air.
The fire erupted about two weeks after a March 17 blaze at a petrochemical storage facility in Deer Park, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Crosby. That fire at a facility owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company burned for days and triggered air quality warnings. Crosby also is where an Arkema’s chemical plant was inundated by water during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Some chemicals eventually caught fire and partially exploded.