Worker missing after explosion at Hood County chemical plant

Posted March 17, 2018

An official says an explosion at a rural Texas chemical plant injured two workers and that a third is missing, and that fire crews are being kept away from the blaze because of toxic fumes and fear of another explosion.

It wasn't immediately clear what types of chemicals are manufactured at the Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Dallas. The Texas Department of Public Safety was forced to close parts of the highway in Hood County and Cresson due to billowing smoke from the fire. "It smells like sulfur".

Cresson's mayor says firefighters were considering pulling back from the scene over the risk of additional explosions.

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Inside the plant water or solids are blended with highly concentrated chemicals. They allowed the fire to burn itself out. The cause of the incident is still being investigated. This rule updates a 1990s-era regulatory framework in order to better protect individuals from major industrial disasters.

The Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities are monitoring air emissions.

Texas has suffered a series of plant explosions over the past few years. It's not clear how numerous chemicals stored at the plant were hazardous. It's thought about 12 people normally work at the plant, which opened in early 2017.

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The Cresson Mayor and Fire Chief Bob Cornett said it's possible the fire started by a worker dragging his or her foot along the floor while chemicals were being mixed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Local authoritieses have so far confirmed that one person was severely burned and was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He was identified to NBC as Jason Speegle by his mother-in-law, who said he only started working at the facility three weeks ago.

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