On Friday, August 14, Conroe was rocked by a massive explosion at the DrillChem Drilling Services plant on North Loop 336. Investigators now say that they do not suspect foul play.
The explosion and fire, which started about 4:30 in the afternoon, took about four hours for firefighters to bring under control. There are no reported injuries to date, as the plant reportedly closes early on Friday, but one firefighter was transported to the emergency room to be treated for heat exhaustion. Residents within two miles were ordered to shelter in place for several hours.
Conroe Fire Marshal Mike Legoudes said at a press conference last Wednesday that the explosions were “accidental in nature.” He said that investigators are focused on at least three possible ignition sources: electrical issues, a potential gas leak, or old oily rags reported to be inside.
DrillChem is an oilfield chemicals company established in 2000 that produces sealants, shale inhibitors, and lubricants, according to its website. The DrillChem facility had no known inspection issues, but DrillChem had only been at the building for about a year. While DrillChem’s founder and CEO, James R. Hayes, spoke at the press conference with Fire Marshal Legoudes, he did not disclose what types of chemicals were present in the fire. He maintained that there was no air pollution or contamination outside the plant.