Evacuations ordered after gas plant explosion northwest of Houston


BELLVILLE, Texas (AP) — Authorities say nobody has been hurt in several explosions and a fire at a gas and cylinders company in a rural area approximately 60 miles northwest of Houston. 

Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes said the accident at Western International Gas & Cylinders was reported around 6 a.m. Tuesday. Brandes says the plant, which provides bulk gases such as acetylene, is 5 miles east of Bellville and there’s no threat to the town of about 4,200.

Officials are trying to determine what sparked the fire. Brandes says a mandatory evacuation covered a mile surrounding the plant, KPRC reports. Highway 159 was closed from Bellville to Hempstead.

Brandes says the risk of additional explosions was minimal as firefighters hosed down the smoldering scene.

Western International officials didn’t immediately return a message Tuesday. 

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