A chemical plant explosion that could be felt and seen for miles evacuated a town near Houston. The blast resulted in a significant fire that took about a week to extinguish. During and after the event, local authorities ordered evacuation due to the potential for dangerous chemicals in the air. The evacuation affected about 60,000 nearby residents. A second evacuation of the town of Port Neches, Texas, was issued when monitors found elevated levels of butadiene in the air.
Dangers of Chemical Plant Explosions and Fires
Chemical plants can be hazardous to workers and those living nearby. The immediate threat of an explosion or fire is only one danger. Another hazard is the emission of toxic chemicals into the air during a fire. According to reports, the blast occurred at a petrochemical plant. TPC Group owns the plant, and it produces butadiene. The fire took place on the 218-acre plant property, which makes flammable chemicals used in the production of synthetic rubber and a gasoline additive. It is unknown whether anyone sustained burns from the fire.
Butadiene is a colorless gas with a mild gasoline odor. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), butadiene poses a hazard to humans in two ways. Exposure to butadiene can be acute or chronic. The acute exposure is further delineated into low and high exposure. Acute exposure can irritate the throat, nose, eyes, and lungs and can cause frostbite with exposure to skin. High exposures can damage the central nervous system and result in symptoms including headaches, distorted vision, nausea, general tiredness, decreased pulse rate and blood pressure, and more. The substance may also be linked to an increase in the incidence of cancer.
What to do if You Were Hurt
The authorities first ordered residents to shelter in place and then called for residents to evacuate. Unfortunately, many people may have breathed in harmful chemicals. While there are immediate symptoms, you may also suffer long-term effects. Visit the doctor or emergency room and provide them with your symptoms and concerns. It is essential to document the incident so you can take legal action if the situation warrants. The doctor will evaluate your condition, conduct tests, and provide you with treatment.
It is important to take young children to the doctor for evaluation if exposed to chemicals in the air. They may not tell you of any symptoms, but they could have issues that require medical treatment. Document the incident and discuss the details with an experienced Houston personal injury attorney.
Your lawyer will help determine what options you have available. You may take legal action to get compensation for your injuries that includes money for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others. If your injuries are long-term, you may have additional compensation.
Learn more about legal options with a visit to Baumgartner Law Firm. We have the experience and knowledge to help you get money for your injuries.
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