One minute on Wednesday, doorbell video cameras in Port Neches, Texas, were recording the uneventful scenes of the yard of Eddie Ramirez.
The next minute, the video was recording the sky light up and a piece of a porch light tumble to ground after a 1 a.m. explosion at the TPC Group’s chemical plant three miles away.
Doorbell cameras in Port Neches, Texas captured the moment of a chemical refinery explosion that rocked the city, injuring at least three people, and even breaking a light fixture a distance away. https://t.co/WD0p6f2Vt0 pic.twitter.com/r2t5hgu58n
— ABC News (@ABC) November 27, 2019
“My video cameras caught the moment impact. I hope and pray that everyone is ok,” Ramirez wrote of the blast, which shattered windows at homes across the area and was felt more than 30 miles from the plant’s location.
Others shared dramatic footage of the explosions and the fires that followed.
WAIT FOR IT: This video shows the intensity of the chemical plant explosion this morning in southeast Texas. The fire from the TPC plant explosion is still burning, and plumes of smoke can be seen from miles away. // video courtesy of Michael Buell pic.twitter.com/4Z4PDNNkRS
— Hanna Battah (@HannaBattahFox4) November 27, 2019
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A major explosion at a chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas early this morning has started mandatory evacuations for all residents within a half-mile of the TPC Group Plant.Residents beyond that area: Shelter in Place.#PortNeches #HuntsmanChemicalPlant pic.twitter.com/OBF85iKAXG
— ~Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) November 27, 2019
Three people were injured after two explosions 45 minutes apart ripped through the plant.
Fifty-thousand people were evacuated from their homes and were allowed to return beginning on Friday, CBS reported.
“I want to make it clear that no one is to approach the TPC plant and the areas that are going to be blocked off,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said, according to WFAA.
Branick said Friday that although the fire had been contained, it was not entirely out and that officials will let the fire burn itself out.
Officials urged homeowners to be wary of asbestos that might have been blown onto their property.
“There was some asbestos, either blanket, pipe covering or block that was installed. One of the vessels that was compromised and had an explosion could have blown that asbestos debris over the neighborhoods and into some yards,” Branick said.
Environmental activist Hilton Kelley said residents coming home might face other dangers as well.
“Smoke is still coming from the source where the explosion happened, there is still toxic fumes in that smoke,” Kelley said, according to CBS. “We know for a fact that there’s benzene in that plume, we know that there’s 1,3-butadeine and we just discovered that there’s also asbestos in that plume … But just how much is still uncertain at this particular time and we want to make sure that all our citizens are safe.”
Branick said officials will remain vigilant.
“All air monitoring is going to continue. We’ve had nothing above the threshold limit values that are established by federal and state guidelines, and there have been no exceedances that pose hazards to human health,” Branick said.
Schools in the Port Neches-Groves school district will be closed Monday as officials assess damage from the explosions.
“We just want to be sure our kids are safe. We want to make sure our buildings are structurally sound,” Superintendent Mike Gonzales said. “Other than that, we are ready to go.”
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