On December 23rd, the Harris County Sherriff’s Office responded to reports of a fire at the ExxonMobil oil refinery in Baytown. At least four people were injured, all of whom were taken to hospital. The incident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. at the facility which houses a chemical plant, olefins, and a 560,500 barrel-per-day oil refinery.
While nearby residents were asked to avoid the area following the fire, the Sherriff’s Office has stated that there is no indication that residents would need to evacuate or shelter in place. All four injured people appear to be in stable condition at this time, and Rohan Davis, a manager at the refinery reported to Reuters that all other personnel at the facility had been accounted for.
Although Davis has stated that he could not confirm whether an explosion had occurred, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, initial reports point to one. Several residents in the area have described hearing and feeling an explosion with some stating that they thought the event was a bomb or an earthquake.
Unfortunately, for some nearby residents, this incident was all too familiar. In July 2019, the same facility experienced an explosion and fire that resulted in shelter-in-place order was issued, affecting about 5000 people in the area with more than 60 sent for medical evaluation following the explosion. And just earlier this year, a federal judge ordered the facility to pay $14.25 million in penalties for Clean Air Act violations.
The experienced trial attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner have successfully represented victims and families of catastrophic plant explosions and are available for a free consultation. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a chemical plant accident, call us at 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1‑888-261-9018.