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I.C. MURRELL — Bad timing for an explosion

As citizens of Jefferson County, we’re learning quite well to adjust to adversity — not that we asked for it.

Adversity hardly gives us warning for disasters, whether natural, man-made or undetermined. Adversity never tells us to plan to face the same problem twice in one day.

Yet, here we were on the eve of Thanksgiving. All was quiet late Tuesday night. Some kids and educators may have stayed up as long as possible, while some people like me just couldn’t fall asleep. Maybe something was in the air.

Before we knew it, something really was in the air: a shockwave stronger than a tornado, a boom louder than thunder, a plume so bright that night could turn into day — within a short radius, of course.

Clement C. Moore didn’t need to come up with lyrics for “The Night Before Thanksgiving.” This spectacle provided all the descriptions.

If only the madness could just end there.

Not once but twice on the same day, the same chemical plant in Port Neches exploded. The first time, it caught our attention when we needed to catch sleep. The second time, something was just dead wrong.

No, the madness didn’t end there. The mystery was just beginning.

What has spilled into the air that could potentially harm us? How long do our residents, who signed up for a peaceful start to the holiday season, have to stay away from home? Do we get to come back home by the weekend? Why us?

By the time you read this column, all that is a mystery hopefully will be solved. For all that we as a community can deal with in the most inopportune times, we deserve a slice of simplicity to go with our holiday desserts.

One thing we can take comfort and still be thankful for is this: We know three injured persons from the first explosion at TPC Group have been treated and released. We can also be thankful for our first responders and those working to keep not just the TPC workers but all of our neighbors safe.

We didn’t get the warning, but once again, we as a community pulled through in adversity.

I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at ic.murrell@panews.com

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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