CROSBY, Texas (KXAN) — Houston officials confirmed to KPRC in Houston that at least one person was killed in the explosion and subsequent fire at the KMCO chemical plant located off old Highway 90 in Crosby, Texas.
Harris County Sherrif Ed Gonzalez confirmed to local media that preliminary investigators believe a chemical called isobutylene, a colorless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor, ignited and exploded. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tweeted that personnel have been dispatched to the area of the explosion and that local authorities have been assessing environmental concerns.
The National Fire Protection Association says isobutylene can cause temporary incapacitation or residual injury. It burns readily, rapidly or completely vaporizes at atmospheric pressure and normal ambient temperature.
This is the second major plant explosion and fire in the Houston area in the past few weeks. On March 17, a fire broke out at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park southeast of Houston. The fire burned for days as authorities struggled to get it under control.
The Crosby Independent School District and the Sheldon Independent School District told NBC affiliate KPRC that nearby schools are sheltering in place. Harris County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office also tweeted that there is a shelter-in-place order for all Crosby residents.
According to its website, KMCO LLC works to manufacture specialty chemicals, including antifreeze and chemicals used in oilfields.