UPDATE: ExxonMobil was quickly hit with a lawsuit from the Harris County Attorney’s Office after the explosion. ExxonMobil is accused of violating the Texas Clean Air Act for “unauthorized emissions into the atmosphere.” The lawsuit is not related to any injuries due to the refinery explosion. Instead, attorneys for Harris County are seeking potential fines up to $25,000 per violation per day.
August 2, 2019 — A massive explosion and fire at the ExxonMobil Baytown refinery near Houston, Texas has injured at least 37 workers.
The explosion occurred just after 11:00 a.m. on July 31 at ExxonMobil’s 3,400-acre refinery complex in Baytown, Texas, which is located about 25 miles east of Houston.
Plant manager Jason Duncan reported that 37 employees and contractors suffered minor 1st-degree burns. No one was hospitalized. Authorities said 66 people were sent for medical evaluation.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it started in a part of the facility that purifies the chemical propylene. EPA records also show large quantities of toxic pollutants such as benzene at the facility.
The fire at the ExxonMobil Baytown refinery is the 4th major fire at petrochemical facility in the Houston area this year. In March, another fire at ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery released pollutants for 8 days.
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