At least two people have died and seven more have been injured in an acetic acid leak at a chemical plant in La Porte, Texas late on Tuesday.
A company spokesperson for the LyondellBasell facility in La Porte Complex said the incident was contained to the plant and air monitoring suggested no threat to the surrounding community.
In an update, the company said that all personnel have been accounted for. The leak is stopped and clean-up is in progress, it said.
Harris County fire marshal Laurie Christensen said acetic acid "is a chemical acid used in food-grade vinegar," according to USA Today. “The issues that occur is severe burns, harmful if swallowed, toxic if inhaled and harmful to the skin.”
The fire marshal also said that two of the injured were transported to the hospital and five people were treated at the scene. 31 others were being monitored for possible symptoms.
LyondellBasell said in its statement that two contractors were fatally injured in the incident, and five contractors and a LyondellBasell employee were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
After investigators determined that there was no explosion or fire, the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office handed over the probe to Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office.
Harris County Judge Line Hidalgo said that she's "heartbroken."
She said in a statement on Twitter: “Heartbroken to hear of the two fatalities at the Lyondell Basell facility in La Porte. Our county and other first responder agencies are working to support the other workers impacted and to verify that the incident is contained. Grateful to all responders."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies