Two weeks ago an explosion occurred in Conroe, Texas at a drilling fluid supplier. Officials have not said what caused the initial fire, if any chemicals washed into nearby water sources, or what chemicals escaped into the air. Currently, the investigation into this incident is ongoing.
The explosions were first reported around 4:45 p.m. on Friday, August 14, 2015 at the 4300 block of South Loop 336 in Montgomery County, Texas. The smoke issuing from the explosion was visible from miles away. The resulting fire burned down two metal warehouses used to store chemicals for Conroe-based oilfield drilling products manufacturer DrillChem Drilling Solutions.
Thankfully, so far, there have not been any injuries caused by this explosion. The facility was empty when the explosion and fire occurred. Nevertheless, the surrounding area could be at risk depending on what chemicals, if any, were inside the warehouse at the time of the explosion. A hazmat team monitored the air quality. Additionally, there could be cause for concern due to the contaminated runoff from the water used to fight the fire. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been notified of the explosion.
However, DrillChem is unwilling to release the names of specific chemicals stored and used in the facility. DrillChem contends this is due to their desire to guard company trade secrets. Earlier this year, the Houston Chronicle requested the Montgomery County Local Emergency Planning Committee disclose the chemical inventories, or Tier II reports, for each plant located in Montgomery County. Montgomery County rejected this request and asked the attorney general’s office for a ruling. The attorney general’s office determined the state could not release Tier II report data. Therefore, unless DrillChem notifies the public of the chemicals that were stored in the warehouses, the public will not know what chemicals were potentially released.
Chemical explosions can cause serious injuries. Further, chemical exposure, depending on level of toxicity, can cause irritation, burns, or inflammation. If you or someone you know was injured or killed in an accident involving a chemical explosion, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.