After lifting the shelter-in-place order on Wednesday, officials in rural Texas began to reveal details about the explosion that occurred at a nearby chemical plant.
Geoff Harfield of Sound Resource Solutions, the industrial blending facility in Shepherd, told journalists that the explosion was caused by a “forklift accident”, but he didn’t elaborate.
An initial investigation by officials in San Jacinto County revealed that the ignition occurred when an employee saw a container with chemicals leaking and attempted to lift it using a forklift.
San Jacinto County sheriff Greg Capers informed reporters that he had been told diesel was on fire, and that turpentine or other chemicals could also be igniting.
Harfield stated that he couldn’t speculate as to what type of chemicals are suspected of being burned since the investigation is ongoing.
Harfield added: “We will make sure any remediation that is needed to be carried out in the correct way, so there are no effects on the community we have loved for the past 14 years.”
The explosion happened at 8:17 a.m. along U.S. Highway 59, in Shepherd. The city is in San Jacinto County about 60 miles north of Houston.
As officials surveyed the situation, an initial shelter-in-place order of five miles was reduced to one mile. Later Wednesday afternoon, the order was lifted.
The person was treated at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. The person was treated at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
Officials reported that 19 employees were working at the time.
Harfield informed reporters that after the explosion, all employees had been accounted for and the injured worker was recovering.
He’s in good hands and is being taken care of. Harfield told Harfield that he is doing well – he worried about us so he must be doing well. He’s going home with his family tonight, which is good news. Everyone’s OK.
The photos and videos from the scene reveal a huge black plume of smog billowing out from the plant.
As firefighters worked to contain the fire, nearby roads were closed and a private high school evacuated.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced on Wednesday evening that mobile air units would continue to monitor the air quality through the night.
We have deployed mobile air monitoring units to the site and will continue to monitor into the night. At this time, no levels of concern have been detected. Our mobile command post will remain on site until further notice. pic.twitter.com/99FXJibFTW
— Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (@TCEQ) November 9, 2023
The post stated, “At this point, no levels are of concern.” The mobile command post is expected to remain at the site until further notice.