On March 15, 2011, an explosion and fire occurred at the KMTEX plant in Port Arthur, Texas. The KMTEX plant is newar the Intracoastal Canal Bridge to the Sabine Pass. According to the KMTEX’s website, the company processes petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, oleochemicals, agricultural chemicals and food-grade chemicals.
According to reports, one person was killed and three others were injured in a the fire and explosion at the chemical processing plant in Port Arthur Thursday afternoon. Emergency personnel reported that two of the injured victims were flown to UTMB. One of the injured workers had head trauma and another suffered lower-extremity fractures and burns. A third injured victim was taken by EMS to St. Mary’s Hospital. The fourth victim of the plant explosion died at the plant.
According to witnesses, a worker at the plant was welding on a pipeline that held coal tar naptha solvent when the explosion happened. According to reports, it was thought by the workers that the line was clear of the solvent. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, naptha is highly flammable byproduct of refined crude oil and can be ignited by heat, sparks and open flames.
The bridge near the plant was closed for about two hours after the explosion, and crews checked the air for any Hazmat danger. According to records, KMTEX is a wholly owned subsidiary of KMCO which is headquartered in Crosby.