Emergency medical workers were on the scene of a “major industrial accident” at an Exxon Mobil plant in Texas where at least four people were injured on Thursday morning, the authorities said.
A fire broke out around 1 a.m. local time at a refinery in Baytown, an area about 25 miles east of Houston, Exxon Mobil said in a statement on Twitter.
“At this time, emergency vehicles and smoke may be noticeable to the community,” the company said, adding that it was working closely with local officials to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Four people were injured, the company said. Three were taken by Life Flight, an air ambulance service, and one by ambulance, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, said on Twitter.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, a spokeswoman from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said by phone early Thursday. She said no fatalities were reported.
The sheriff’s office described the fire as a “major industrial accident” in a statement on Twitter and asked the public to “avoid the area.”
“Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire,” Julie King, a spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil, said in a statement by email. “We are conducting personnel accounting.”
As a precaution, Exxon Mobil had begun conducting air quality monitoring at the site and fence line, she said.
“We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community,” Ms. King said.
Right after the episode, local residents reported hearing a “boom” that shook their windows and homes.
Others shared their concerns on Twitter with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, with at least one person asking about possible evacuations and if it was safe to sleep.
“No word yet, will determine that asap and advise,” Sheriff Gonzalez replied.
In the summer of 2019, dozens of employees and contractors were treated after an explosion and fire broke out at the Baytown plant, according to CNN. The fire occurred in the polypropylene recovery unit, where plastic is purified for production and a shelter-in-place order was issued for several hours.
The Exxon Mobil complex in Baytown was founded in 1919 and sits on approximately 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, according to its website.
It is the second-largest refinery in the United States with nearly 2,200 employees. The facility produces nearly 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
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