A chemical plant has exploded in a huge fireball in Texas, sending a giant cloud of black smoke into the sky and triggering mass evacuations.
Authorities issued a ‘shelter-in-place’ order to residents within a one-mile radius of the Sound Resource Solutions complex in Shepherd after it went up in flames at 8:17 am on Wednesday.
A worker was severely injured and taken to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center with first-degree burns to the face, along with second and third-degree burns to his arms, FOX 26 reported.
The injured person might have been involved in a forklift accident that could have caused the explosion, a employee from the plant told ABC 13.
The Sound Resource Solutions plant in Shepherd, about 60 miles from Houston, exploded at 8:17 am Wednesday
The smoke from the blast engulfed the sky and hovered over trees
Sound Resource Solutions is a local recycling plant in Shepard, about 60 miles from Houston.
They focus on the ‘blending, repackaging, distribution, and logistics’ in a sustainable way according to the company’s website.
Polk County’s Office of Emergency Management said the plant was housing turpentine, phosphoric acid, xylene, diesel fuel and sulfuric acid when it exploded.
They recommended residents near US Highway 59 from Goodrich to Leggett shelter in place.
They have also advised residents to turn their HVAC systems off in businesses and home immediately.
The Sheriff’s office is asking the public to avoid the area and watch out for emergency vehicles.
The huge plume of black smoke could be seen towering into the clouds after a chemical plant exploded with 19 employees inside
Polk County Emergency Management posted a map of the US Highway 59 region from Goodrich to Leggett. All residents in that area need to shelter in place immediately
Sound Resource Solutions was housing turpentine, phosphoric acid, xylene, diesel fuel and sulfuric acid when it exploded
Responders reported that the plume of smoke was headed towards the Livingston area.
The effects of the chemicals in the air are unknown at this time but the wind is suspected to be carrying the odor and smoke from the fire into the air.
About 19 employees at the plant made it out without injuries.
The president of the company told a press conference at the scene that they produce hazardous materials, but a lot of them are ones that ‘you can find under your sink.’
Wildwood Private School had to be evacuated with students sent through a local pasture to a nearby administrative building. There were 31 students in the school at the time.
First responders have arrived on the scene of the chemical plant explosion, including police, fire fighters and the hazmat team
The dark smoke has taken over the clear blue skies from the chemical explosion (pictured)
First responders have not put any water on the fire yet as it is unknown exactly what kind of chemicals might be involved in the blast. They plan to start fighting the fire soon.
During a shelter in place during a radiation emergency, all windows and doors should be locked, and everyone inside should move to the basement or the middle of the building, the CDC said.
If you are stuck in a car during a shelter in place you should look to find the closest building. Cars do not provide enough protection from radioactive material.