LA PORTE – Two people are dead and seven sustained injuries following a chemical leak at the LyondellBasell Industries in La Porte, the city’s Office of Emergency Management confirmed Tuesday.
Crews responded to reports of an incident at LyondellBasell Industries, which is located at 1515 Miller Cut-Off Road, around 7:35 p.m.
During a news conference Tuesday evening, the Harris County Fire Marshal said two people died on the scene, two others were transported to the hospital — one by LifeFlight and the other by ambulance — five people were being treated at the scene and 31 people were being reviewed for possible symptoms. All employees working in the acetyls unit have been accounted for, according to officials.
HCFMO investigators conducted initial interviews and determined there was no explosion or fire, therefore we have turned the investigation over to @Pct8Constable who is the authority having jurisdiction regarding this incident. #hounews
— @hcfmo (@hcfmo) July 28, 2021
Watch the full news conference below:
Officials said the facility experienced a chemical leak, which has since been identified as glacial acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, methanecarboxylic acid, and ethylic acid. Acetic acid is a process solvent used to produce purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is a key intermediate for a range of applications, including polyester esters, fibers, containers, film and tapes. Another important use for acetic acid is in the production of acetic anhydride. Acetic acid is used to produce a broad range of acetate esters; the most important of which are ethyl acetate, n-butyl acetate and isopropyl acetate. These solvents find applications in coatings, inks, adhesives and cosmetics.
La Porte EMS, which described the incident as a “mass casualty” event, said Harris County Pollution Control is on the scene to conduct air monitoring.
LyondellBasell officials said the leak has stopped and there is no level of concern for the community.
LyondellBasell released the following statement on the La Porte incident:
“As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, we have accounted for all personnel who were working within the acetyls unit area of our La Porte Complex, where the leak occurred. This unit was shut down earlier today for planned maintenance. The leak is stopped and clean-up is in progress. Air monitoring continues to demonstrate no levels of concern for the community. All appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified.
We are saddened to confirm two contractors were fatally injured in this incident. Five contractors and a LyondellBasell employee were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Our thoughts and prayers go out to these individuals and their families.
We appreciate the assistance of emergency responders from the City of La Porte and Channel Industries Mutual Aid who responded to the incident. An investigation into the cause of this incident is already underway.”
This is a developing story. Continue to check back for more details.