PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 8, 2014

Investigation into Chevron Phillips fire begins

PORT ARTHUR — The investigation into the cause of Monday night’s fire at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company is underway less than 24 hours after the incident.

“A team of experts from other Chevron Phillips Chemical facilities has been assembled and has begun the investigation to determine the root cause of the incident,” according to a press release from David Hastings, public affairs manager at Chevron Phillips.

The localized fire occurred at the Port Arthur facility located at 2001 Gulfway Drive at about 8 p.m. Monday, July 7. The chemical company’s fire response team handled the fire while Port Arthur Fire Department remained on standby with equipment and manpower should it be needed, Port Arthur Police Maj. John Owens said. Owens is the city’s emergency management coordinator.

“The fire chief (Larry Richard) and I went in and were part of their emergency operations center to assist them in decision making and operations should they need outside assistance and to ensure the public and community that we had someone inside the EOC to look at it from the community’s side,” Owens said.

Owens and Richard were on site at the request of Chevron Phillips, he added.

The two were at the site until the incident was mitigated.

While there Owens and Richard continued independent air monitoring throughout the night to ensure the community was safe.

“The continuous monitoring picked up zero readings,” he said. “We do this any time there is an incident. It is protocol for the fire department’s hazardous response team to perform independent monitoring.”

Law enforcement blocked the roadway to and from the general area of the chemical plant for several hours until they felt safe the incident was confined to the facility, he added.

Two Chevron Phillips employees were injured during the incident. They were transported to area hospitals for medical treatment. No other injuries were reported.

“We regret very deeply that this event has occurred. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. We ask for your patience as we manage the response to the incident,” Margie Conway, plant manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical, said in an e-mail. “We will communicate additional information when it can be confirmed.”

The “all clear” was sounded  just before 7 a.m. Tuesday at the Port Arthur facility.

“We want to thank the Port Arthur fire and police departments and our industry neighbors for helping with the emergency response,” said Conway. “We appreciate all the support that has been extended during this difficult time.”

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

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