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2 dead, 30 hospitalized after 'mass casualties' incident at LyondellBasell chemical plant near La Porte 1

2 dead, 30 hospitalized after ‘mass casualties’ incident at LyondellBasell chemical plant near La Porte

The incident comes just days after a leak at a Dow Chemical plant in La Porte and another LyondellBasell leak in Galena Park.

Two people were confirmed dead and 30 were hospitalized in what La Porte officials called a “mass casualty” incident at a LyondellBasell chemical plant Tuesday night in unincorporated Harris County.

La Porte’s Office of Emergency Management confirmed that LyondellBasell requested support around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for an acetic acid leak at the company’s facility at 1515 Miller Cut Off Road near the city.

A company spokesman said approximately 100,000 pounds of acetic acid were released. Two people died at the scene and five others were treated and released, according to the company and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Of the 30 people hospitalized, most received treatment for respiratory problems. One was treated for a severe burn, according to spokesman Stephen Goff.

The company had earlier reported that four people had been transported for treatment for burns, in addition to the two dead. Christensen said the cause of the incident, which she called a “chemical-type explosion” release inside the plant, is still under investigation.

The conditions of those hospitalized were unknown until Wednesday morning. Harris County Fire Chief Laurie Christensen identified the chemicals as methyl iodide, hydrogen iodide and methyl acetate, a chemical acid used in food-grade vinegar that can cause severe burns and is harmful if ingested, toxic if inhaled and harmful to the skin, she said.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirmed on Twitter that the county was assisting in the response. The leak was fixed overnight and cleanup is underway, according to LyondellBasell. All the company’s staff has been accounted for. The incident comes less than a week after a leak at the Dow Chemical Co. plant. Bayshore in La Porte that lasted more than a day.

No one died during the Dow plant leak, but local officials evacuated a half-mile radius around the facility, fearing a possible explosion. Another leak at a separate LyondellBasell facility earlier this month created a toxic odor in Galena Park that lasted for days.

No one was injured, but residents reported feeling nauseated and headaches.

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