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Texas: balls of fire on the chemical plant – four places evacuated

Two huge explosions in a chemical plant frightened colleagues and residents and injured three people. Four places must be vacated, leaving around 60,000 people in Port Neches, Groves, Nederland and parts of Port Arthur in their homes.

A giant fireball rose above the factory of the TPC chemical company in Port Neches, Texas, as they displayed photos and videos published on online networks. The images show large parts of the plant, which are thrown into the air.

Resident Ryan Mathewson told the AFP news agency that his home had broken windows and dented doors. Even parts of the ceiling had penetrated. The explosion caused "horror and fear" in his family, the 25-year-old said.

District Judge Jeff Branick told local news station KFDM News that it was "a miracle" the absence of victims. Therefore, three people were injured: one suffered burns, a second one broke his wrist and a third a leg. According to the TPC operator, the victims are two employees of the factory and an employee of a subcontractor.

13 hours between explosions

The company stated that all employees were rescued. The three injured workers were receiving medical treatment. According to the company, the explosion occurred around one in the morning (local time) in a "processing unit" of the factory. TPC therefore activated the crisis response plan and informed the fire brigade. The second explosion followed around 2:00 pm.

The petrochemical plant is located about 135 kilometers from Houston, the largest city in the US state. According to the company's website, more than 200 people work in the factory. Among other things, the flammable gases butadiene and buta are produced there.