Explosion, fire at Texas oil refinery injures 3; residents evacuated


Nov. 27 (UPI) —
 A powerful explosion shook a petroleum processing plant near Houston early Wednesday and injured three people, authorities said.

TPC Group, which processes crude oil into products for the petroleum and chemical industry, said the blast occurred around 1 a.m. at a “processing unit” at its plant in Port Neches, Texas, about 85 miles northeast of downtown Houston.

The injured included two employees and a contractor at the plant, who by Wednesday afternoon had been treated and released, local officials said. As many as 27 people were working at the petrochemical plant when the explosion happened but all had been accounted for.

Authorities ordered residents within a half-mile of the site to evacuate, and those living south of Interstate 10 in Orange County were instructed to “shelter in place.”

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TPC Group released an updated statement late Wednesday morning, saying emergency responders were still working to bring the fire under control and monitor air along the plant’s perimeter and in nearby neighborhoods.

Residents and business owners near the plant reported the blast shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges, leaving scattered damage in its wake. Port Neches is a city of about 13,000 residents near the Texas-Louisiana border.

The company’s website says the Port Neches plant has more than 175 full-time employees.

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