A major explosion and fire at an industrial plant in Pasadena, Texas Saturday morning injured over 20 victims and caused substantial damage to the facility. According to authorities, the blast took place shortly before 10:30 am on Saturday May, 19 at the Kuraray America EVAL industrial facility on Choate and Bay Area Blvd. in south Harris County.
As reported by officials from the La Porte Office of Emergency Management, roughly 270 employees were inside the Pasadena plant when a valve blew and caused an explosion that created a flash fire. At least 19 workers suffered serious burn injuries and were transported by ambulance to local area hospitals. Another two were transported by helicopter for treatment of serious injuries. Other workers may have also suffered injuries in the blast, but officials stated none were life-threatening and no shelter-in-place order was issued for the surrounding community.
Local authorities and federal regulators have been working with representatives from Kuraray, a Tokyo-based chemical manufacturer that employs over 800 people for their American operations, which is headquartered in Houston. Kuraray America, Inc. makes resin, dental, fiber, and elastomer materials at its industrial facility in Pasadena.
While investigations are still ongoing, preliminary findings show that a pressure safety valve in the plant released ethylene, which caused the flash fire. The EVAL plant, which opened in 1986, is the world’s largest ethylene vinyl alcohol producer, capable of manufacturing 47,000 tons of the product on four production lines each year. It was also discovered that the company was in the midst of currently expanding the plan to increase production by over 10,000 tons, with an expected completion date later this year.
While publicly available data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Chemical safety Board do not show any major violations at the site in recent years, regulators will be focused on determining not only what led to the explosion and subsequent fire and injuries, but also whether or not it could and should have been prevented. In light of the company’s current plans to expand production, they will be focusing on whether the expansion was done safely and in accordance to regulations.
Representation for Injured Workers
The Daspit Law Firm is a personal injury law firm that has cultivated a reputation for protecting the rights of workers who suffer serious injuries, as well as families who lose loved ones in fatal workplace and industrial accidents, involving major explosions, fires, chemical plants, and plant and refinery accidents throughout Houston, the state of Texas, and other states across the U.S. Our Houston personal injury attorneys are representing some of those injured in this incident, and have also represented, and are still currently representing, numerous individuals who have been injured at this particular plant in the past.
With our experience and insight into the operations of this industrial facility, we are prepared to provide the support and counsel injured workers and their families need as the investigation unfolds and they explore their right to secure compensation and benefits for their losses, including their medical expenses and lost income.
If you have questions about your rights and how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. The Daspit Law Firm represents clients throughout the region from multiple office locations, is available 24/7, and can make home, hospital, or home appointments for those who cannot come to us.