Second Explosion Rocks Port Neches Refinery, Large-Scale Mandatory Evacuation Ordered

A second explosion rocked a refinery in Port Neches, Texas, Wednesday afternoon, about 12 hours after an initial blast injured three people, shattered windows and caused property damage in a 10-mile radius around the plant, and sent an ever-growing plume of black smoke into the air. The afternoon explosion resulted in an expansion of a mandatory evacuation zone around the Port Neches refinery from a half mile to four miles. Law enforcement officials from the state are enforcing the mandatory evacuation. There has been no announcement as to how long the mandatory evacuation will remain in effect.

In addition, the Governor of Texas imposed a 10:00 p.m. curfew on residents in a multi-county region in that part of the state. The Governor also declared a disaster, a step that is providing local city and county governments in the region added authority to protect people and property.

In the aftermath of the second explosion, the situation at the TCP Group refinery is being described as an inferno. The tremendous blaze is expected to continue until at least Thanksgiving. Indeed, by Wednesday evening, firefighters focused on keeping surrounding storage tanks and other elements of the refinery from catching fire or even exploding.

Both the first and second explosions at the Port Neches refinery resulted in property damage across a 10-mile radius encircling the plant. There were also injuries reported among the general public after both explosions. The specifics regarding these injuries remained vague on Wednesday night; however, no one appears to have died as a result of the incredible blasts, either inside or outside the grounds of the refinery. Three people on the grounds of the refinery were injured after the first explosion and taken to area hospitals.

The significantly expanded evacuation zone is supplemented by a recommendation that people within 10 miles of the TCP Group refinery voluntarily leave their homes and businesses until further notice. The mandatory evacuation was prompted by two major concerns. First, officials are concerned that there may yet be another explosion or explosions at the Port Neches refinery. Second, a massive plume of black and potentially toxic smoke is spreading over an ever-expanding area around the plant. The possibility exists that the evacuation zone may be expanded yet again.

Directly after the first explosion, monitors from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and from the federal Environmental Protection Agency were dispatched to the TCP Group refinery. The officials have been monitoring the air quality across the expanse over which the black plume of smoke is spreading. Media reports described the smoke as a “towering black plume that hung over the region like a macabre Thanksgiving balloon.” The grim smoke plume was visible for a great distance from the refinery.

Concerns exist regarding the potential toxicity of the expanding cloud of black smoke. Considering the parts of the refinery that have exploded and caught fire, there is concern that the smoke plume might contain toxic substances that include:

  • Benzene
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide

These substances all can pose a serious risk to the health of people exposed to them. As of nightfall in Texas on Thanksgiving Eve, no official report had been released regarding the toxicity of the expanding black plume of smoke radiating from the blast site at the Port Neches refinery.

The Doan Law Firm, a nationwide law practice headquartered in Houston, established a Port Neches refinery explosion hotline at (832) 835-0000. The refinery explosion lawyer hotline is staffed around the clock, including during the Thanksgiving holiday, through the weekend and into future.

A person who suffered injuries or property damage as a result of the Port Neches refinery explosion can arrange for an initial consultation and case evaluation. An appointment can be made with an experienced, tenacious refinery explosion attorney for a comprehensive case evaluation. The Doan Law Firm is located adjacent to the areas impacted by the blast and smoke plume:

1 Riverway
Suite 2500
Houston, Texas 77056

(832) 835-0000

There is no fee charged for an initial consultation. The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to its clients. A client is never charged a fee unless the firm wins a favorable settlement or judgment.