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Explosion, fire injure 1 at Houston-area chemical plant

Your Wednesday Morning Headlines, March 22, 2023
Your Wednesday Morning Headlines, March 22, 2023 02:33

An explosion and fire erupted Wednesday at a chemical plant in suburban Houston, injuring at least one person.

Officials were investigating what caused the blast at the plant in the city of Pasadena.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet that the injured person was taken to a hospital. The person's condition was not immediately made public.

Local news broadcasts showed a large ball of fire at the plant followed by large plumes of black smoke. The fire later appeared to have been extinguished.

Officials briefly shut down nearby roads but later reopened them.

The facility is owned by INEOS Phenol and produces Cumene, an organic compound used to make a variety of things including herbicides and pesticides, cleaning products and auto parts.

A spokesman for INEOS Phenol did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment.

In a tweet, the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said earlier that it was responding to a possible pipeline explosion.

The city of Pasadena said it had not ordered residents to take any protective actions, such as sheltering in place, due to the fire.

Cumene is a skin and eye irritant and may cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and unconsciousness with short-term inhalation, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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