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Hours After Initial Explosion, Texas Chemical Plant Endures Another

PORT NECHES, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The southeast Texas chemical plant that exploded early Wednesday morning endured another flare-up just hours later.

A mandatory evacuation has since been issued for everyone within four miles of a refinery where crews continue to respond to the massive explosion, KTRK reported.

Officials say they have no estimate for how much time is needed to bring under control a Texas chemical plant fire ignited by a series of explosions.

At a Wednesday night news conference, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said officials had been unable to determine what caused the two explosions earlier in the day at the TCP Group plant because of a loss of electric power in the Port Neches plant.

The initial, early morning explosion caused three non-life-threatening injuries but caused extensive damage to the neighborhoods surrounding the plant.

But Branick said the second explosion Wednesday afternoon that sent a large reactor tower rocketing high into the sky made clear that surrounding tanks of explosive materials were still in jeopardy. He said that prompted the mandatory evacuation of a four-mile radius from the plant. Water cannons are training water on the tanks in an effort to keep them cool and avoid further explosions.

Branick said round-the-clock air monitoring has yet to show a threat to the public from the smoke plume from fire.

Around 1 a.m. Nov. 27, the TPC Group told a local station that the explosion originated at its plant in Port Neches, injuring three workers and damaging homes several miles away.

The company said all of its personnel who were at the plant at the time are accounted for and that the three injured workers have since been treated and released from nearby hospitals.

According to the TPC's website, it provides a diverse range of quality products to chemical and petroleum-based companies worldwide.

Monk said TPC does not know what caused the initial explosion, but it will form an investigation team to determine what happened.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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