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Texas Chemical Plant Explosion Causes Large Fire; Evacuation And Shelter-In-Place Orders Issued

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Massive clouds of black smoke shot into the sky at a chemical plant in Shepherd, Texas, after an explosion started a major fire.

According to the San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management, Sound Resource Solutions, which manufactures solvents for glue and paint remover, experienced a “plant explosion” on Wednesday morning, followed by a chemical fire.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Sound Resource Solutions president Geoff Harfield reported that one worker had been hurt and was receiving treatment for minor burns. With the exception of the injured employee, he said, the company has been a part of the community since 2013 and employs about 40 people. All of them are at home and safe.

“First responders have done an amazing job. They’ve been very cautious. They’ve made sure everyone is safe,” he said.

A private school located on Farm-to-Market Road 1127 was evacuated as a result of the fire, and authorities issued a 5-mile shelter-in-place warning. That radius had shrunk to one mile by 10:30 a.m. local time.

At a news conference at 1:00 p.m. local time, officials declared that the fire was under control. Authorities stated that no chemicals have been found thus far and that air monitoring is still ongoing.

Due to the explosion, Highway 59 was closed, and residents were advised to take alternate routes.

The Livingston area was in the path of the explosion’s smoke plume, according to the Polk County Emergency Management Office, which also issued an order for residents to take cover and “immediately” turn off their HVAC systems at home and at work.

“At this time, the effects of the chemical in the air are unknown,” Polk County officials said.

In a similar vein, the Livingston Police Department advised locals to stay indoors and turn off air conditioning units until further notice.

The Polk County Emergency Management Office said the affected plant houses chemicals known to cause “acute toxicity, carcinogenicity, and reproductive toxicity, and may cause serious eye damage or eye irritation, skin corrosion or irritation, aspiration hazard, and organ toxicity.”

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