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UPDATE: Mayors from Mid County, PA meeting Friday to address evacuation order

PORT NECHES — The chiefs of the Port Neches and Nederland police departments said Thursday that improvements have been made on containing the TPC Group chemical plant fire resulting from two Wednesday explosions.

Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter said the mayors of Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Nederland and Groves planned to meet with Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick on Friday morning to assess the ongoing mandatory evacuation order, which went into effect approximately 90 minutes after the second explosion occurred.

Under the order, those within a 4-mile radius of TPC, located on Texas 136 Spur, were required to evacuate their homes.

“The City of Nederland is continuing to closely monitor the situation at the TPC facility in Port Neches,” Porter said. “Positive improvements are occurring at the scene. … The City of Nederland wants to recognize and thank the first responders, contractors and staff working to manage this incident.”

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said on Facebook that “significant progress” was made on the fire.

“TPC employees are shutting off valves to block in lines that are still releasing product,” Lemoine said. “After all valves have been located and shut off, the fire will be allowed to burn itself out, and at that point the area will be covered with foam.”

Lemoine encouraged citizens to “limit their travel into and around the City until it is deemed safe to do so.”

TPC director of health safety and security Troy Monk said Wednesday the company’s immediate mission was to contain the fire so as to not “compound the event” by letting a tank fail due to fire.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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