Recent chemical accidents in Texas

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At least 24 chemical accidents at facilities in Texas from 2008 to 2011 caused fatalities, injuries or evacuations, according to federal data. The Dallas Morning News confirmed each incident in at least two federal databases and with media reports, when possible. Unless otherwise noted, the accident was not investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
1 March 15, 2008 Acetylene Oxygen Co. Corpus Christi A 5-gallon container of swimming pool chlorine exploded, sending one person to the hospital. There were no evacuations, according to media reports. 2 May 2, 2008 Lanne Brehmer Boerne A release of methanol at a biofuel facility led to an explosion and evacuation of a nearby neighborhood. The property owner said there was no methanol leak, only an explosion and evacuation. 3 June 6, 2008 UPS Freight Jefferson County A pressurized tank fell in transit, releasing toxic anhydrous stannic chloride gas. The UPS freight terminal and surrounding area were evacuated. 4 June 11, 2008 Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Houston An explosion and ammonia gas release at a plant manufacturing synthetic rubber killed one worker and seriously injured seven others. OSHA fined the company $43,000. 5 July 8, 2008 Advance Food Co. Garland Ammonia gas was released into the air after a line in the plant’s refrigeration system was cut, prompting an evacuation of the facility. 6 Aug. 2, 2008 Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. La Porte A failed safety valve sprayed a large amount of carcinogenic benzene on a nearby roadway and about 24 passing cars. Nearly a dozen people went to the hospital. 7 July 6, 2009 Valley International Cold Storage Harlingen A broken pipe in a refrigeration system released deadly ammonia gas into the atmosphere from an exhaust fan, prompting an evacuation of the facility. 8 July 19, 2009 CITGO Refinery Corpus Christi Butane gas was released and caught fire. Two workers were injured, including one with severe burns and partial loss of his arm. Media reports said 60 to 70 nearby residents suffered eye, nose and throat irritation. OSHA fined the company $84,000.

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9 July 30, 2009 El Dorado Chemical Co. Bryan A fire at a fertilizer plant forced the evacuation of about 70,000 residents because of concerns that its stores of ammonium nitrate would explode. OSHA fined the company $3,500. 10 Nov. 2, 2009 Tyson Fresh Meats Amarillo A release of dangerous anhydrous ammonia gas from the refrigeration system forced an evacuation of the plant and sent three employees to the hospital. OSHA fined the company $5,000. 11 March 19, 2010 Devon Energy Corp. Decatur A tank at an oil production plant exploded while being welded, and two people were injured. OSHA fined the company $6,000. 12 July 15, 2010 Reddy Ice Laredo A blown pressure release valve released 40 pounds of anhydrous ammonia from the plant’s refrigeration system, leading to an evacuation and the hospitalization of two employees. 13 Oct. 4, 2010 Chemplex LC Snyder Three workers were injured after an explosion and flash fire at an oil field chemical plant. One man suffered second- and third-degree burns and later died. OSHA fined the company $15,225. 14 Dec. 24, 2010 KMCO LP Chemical Plant Crosby Three people were seriously injured after an explosion at a plant operated by a manufacturer of antifreeze and brake fluid. Media reported that two burn victims were airlifted to a hospital. OSHA fined the company $65,212. 15 Feb. 8, 2011 Enterprise Products Co. Mont Belvieu A maintenance contract worker was killed in an explosion at a plant that manufactured the fuel additive isooctane. OSHA fined the company $35,000. 16 March 31, 2011 KMTEX Chemical Plant Port Arthur A pipeline containing coal tar exploded in a welding accident involving a contractor. At least one person was killed and three others were injured, according to media reports. OSHA fined the company $58,800.

17 June 21, 2011 Fritz Industries Inc. Mesquite A fire in an ammonium persulfate waste bin led to an evacuation. 18 July 26, 2011 Ferrellgas Wharton A chemical spill resulting from a valve rupture led to the evacuation of nearby homes. 19 Aug. 2, 2011 Stewart Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant The Colony Chlorine gas leaked into the atmosphere as a result of an electrical malfunction, leading to an evacuation of the area. 20 Aug. 8, 2011 Pepsi Bottling Group San Antonio Both the Pepsi bottling plant and a nearby bakery were evacuated when nearly 100 pounds of toxic anhydrous ammonia gas was released into the air. 21 Aug. 25, 2011 Goldstar Marble Corp. Austin About 450 people were evacuated from their homes when a wildfire on the site spread to a storage unit that contained numerous dangerous chemicals. 22 Sept. 8, 2011 Halliburton Victoria A plant was evacuated and parts of a nearby highway were closed when more than 10,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a tank, creating a toxic vapor cloud, according to media reports. 23 Oct. 3, 2011 Magnablend Inc. Waxahachie A fire and explosion occurred while employees were mixing chemicals. The fire led to evacuation of nearby homes and schools to avoid possible toxic smoke exposure. OSHA fined the company $33,000. 24 Nov. 3, 2011 DuPont Beaumont About 1,000 pounds of aniline gas was released into the air at a chemical plant, leading to an evacuation. OSHA fined the company $18,000.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research Troy Oxford/Staff Artist

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