Mid County officials respond to damage following TPC explosion

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, November 27, 2019

PORT NECHES — The explosion at TPC Group Port Neches Operations early Wednesday morning rocked the city breaking windows, blowing out doors, destroying garage doors and cracking sheetrock.

Early accounts show most of the damage is within a mile to a mile-and-a-half radius of the facility, which is located at 2102 Spur 136 in Port Neches.

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said there was pretty significant damage to the fire station, which is less than half a mile from TPC, the Hebert Library saw major damage and the city service center also was damaged.

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The main damage around town is to windows, entry doors and garage doors.

The explosion awakened Lemoine and family, like many others in town.

“I thought it was a tornado,” he said. “After the initial boom and glass breaking and door blowing out, there was such a loud roaring, a loud gushing sound like a wind of 150 mph, then multiple explosions.

“My neighbor has a solid wood entry door with burglar bars and it busted the door in half.”

Debbie Plaia, executive director of the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce, said on social media that she lost several windows, her garage door was damaged, her front door was blown out and the sheetrock on the second floor walls split and cracked.

The windows at the Chamber on Port Neches Avenue also blew out, she said.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said emergency services dispatched mutual aid to Port Neches and there are crews on standby.

The Central Dispatch office that handles emergency calls for Nederland, Port Neches and Groves was inundated with calls and additional personnel were bought in to help.

Duque said he felt the explosion at his Nederland home and that it woke him and his family. He had not heard of any damage to homes or businesses in the city as of midday Wednesday.

Duque, city leaders and first responders have been in contact along with the emergency management coordinator with updates.

Nederland has reached out to assist its neighbors in Port Neches.

“We told them to let us know if we can be of any assistance,” Duque said.

Damage was reported in Groves in areas closer to FM 366, city manager D.E. Sosa said. Damages include shattered windows.

At approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday an explosion was reported at TPC group Port Neches Operations involving the processing unit, according to a press release from the facility posted on the Southeast Texas Alerting Network.

TPC activated its emergency response plans and requested assistance from Port Neches Fire Department and Huntsman.

Personnel at the site were evacuated and all were accounted for with three personnel sustaining injuries.