Chemical Plant Fire Injures 21

At around 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, a fire erupted at the Kuraray America, Inc.’s EVAL facility on Bay Area Blvd. at Choate Road in Pasadena, which sent 21 people to area hospitals, two via medical evacuation helicopters. The fire was responded to by LaPorte and Pasadena police and fire fighters and early reports indicated that a pressure safety valve released ethylene which caused a flash fire in a processing unit. The company specializes in the production of chemical solutions used in the manufacture and strengthening of polymers, textiles, fibers, and other products.

According to a press release, the plant had been closed for several weeks and there were 266 employees and contract personnel on the site engaged in a turnaround with “heavy maintenance activities.” Personnel were performing hydro blasts and modifying and cleaning production equipment during the turnaround. Some of the injured personnel were treated and released and others had more extensive injuries. However, all of them are expected to survive. According to the Harris County Fire Marshall’s Office Chief Investigator, who was also on the scene, the fire was extinguished and no further safety threat was anticipated. Therefore, the area surrounding the plant was not evacuated. Investigation by the company, local authorities and the Texas Environmental Commission, (TEC), is presently underway to determine what caused the pressure release and resulting fire. The federal Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is assisting that effort.

If you or a loved one is ever injured in a plant incident like this one, please consider calling us. We have dealt with such situations for many years and have developed significant expertise in determining legal responsibility.