KMTEX chemical plant explosion near Port Arthur kills 1, injures 3

ABC Channel 13 News has posted a brief report on an explosion at the KMTEX chemical plant near Port Arthur, Texas that has injured 3 workers and killed one worker. The incident happened around 2:00PM on Thursday March 31, 2011.  Apparently an explosion was followed by a flash fire. A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy named Rod Carroll is quoted as telling KFDM-TV of Beaumont that the explosion involved gasoline that was being processed. Another statement credited to Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Fountain was that a 500 barrel fuel tank had exploded. Two of the injured workers were airlifted, one to Memorial Hermann Hospital and one to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Another was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont.

KMTEX’s web site identifies the company as a specialist in the custom processing of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals, oleochemicals, agricultural chemicals, and food grade chemicals. The plant is located at 2450 S. Gulfway Drive, Port Arthur, Texas 77641.

KMTEX chemical plant near Port Arthur, scene of a deadly explosion on March 31, 2011

The Houston Chronicle also provided coverage of the KMTEX explosion. The Chronicle article indicates authorities will be investigating how a flammable solvent remained in a pipeline workers were welding when the explosion occurred. According to unnamed witnesses, one of the workers was welding a pipeline that contained coal tar naptha solvent when the fire occurred: the workers thought all of the solvent had been evacuated from the line. Naptha is a by-produce of crude oil and is highly flammable. According to authorities, one of the injured workers suffered a head injury and another had fractured legs.

Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the deceased worker and the three men injured in the blast. Smith & Hassler believes that the hard-working men and women of the Houston energy industry deserve a safe working environment and should be able to expect to return home safely at the end of each work day. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a plant explosion, call our experienced personal injury attorneys right away.