At around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27th, some kind of industrial incident occurred at the LyondellBasell chemical plant in La Porte, Texas, that resulted in the deaths of two people. Crews are investigating the event which officials have called a “mass casualty” incident.
What We Know
According to the La Porte Office of Emergency Management (EMS), their investigation remains underway following a deadly incident at the La Porte LyondellBasell at 1515 Miller Cut-Off Road. The most recent updates from the EMS have described the leak as a “mass casualty” incident.
At this time, at least two individuals have died in relation to the incident, and it has not yet been reported how many were injured. There appears to be no threat to the surrounding community, according to officials.
“The area is in unincorporated Harris County, adjacent to the City of La Porte. There is no shelter in place or other protective actions being recommended for the La Porte community at this time,” La Porte EMS wrote in a statement.
Reports have blamed both a leak and a “process upset incident” for the LyondellBasell event. It was first categorized as a “medical incident” by the Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) and later as a “chemical release” by Atascocita officials.
The initial CAER report included a warning to residents that there may be emergency vehicles entering the area, and the Atascocita Fire Department said it had sent its first responders to the plant.
Officials have repeatedly stressed that they don’t expect this event to pose a threat to the surrounding community, and pollution monitoring is being undertaken.
The LyondellBasell Facility
According to the company’s site, the LyondellBasell plant employs over 613 employees and contractors. The plant and its associated buildings and structures occupy 549 acres on the shore of the Houston Ship Channel.
The plant produces a variety of chemicals including ethylene, propylene, and polyethylenes.
“These products are used to manufacture bottles for household and industrial chemicals, dairy crates and bread trays, toys, tanks, automotive, wire & cable & injection molding,” the company page reads. “They also are used in a variety of lightweight and heavy plastic bags for food, merchandise bags, dry cleaning, trash cans, mulch, potting soil, and other uses.”
Both ethylene and propylene are incredibly flammable and reactive gases that can cause serious issues when inhaled. Propylene can also be toxic when ingested or inhaled, though its properties vary by type.
Texas Chemical Spills
Chemical spills are alarmingly common in Texas, and the La Porte area is a good example. Less than a week before the LyondellBasell incident, another “process upset incident” at a Dow Chemical plant led to an evacuation of part of the La Porte area. The Dow Chemical plant is located at 13300 Bay Area Boulevard, less than 10 miles from the LyondellBasell complex.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Texas chemical spill or another industrial disaster, contact the Houston industrial injury attorneys of Lapeze & Johns to learn about your options for seeking relief.