OSHA, company respond to flash fire that injured 6 in Port Arthur

Published 12:04 am Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an industrial flash fire that resulted in six injuries this week.

Juan Rodriguez of the U.S. Department of Labor confirmed the OSHA follow-up but said he could not go into detail about the case.

Six people were injured, two severely, in a flash fire at a local pipeline facility, authorities said.

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Port Arthur Fire Chief Greg Benson said they received the call of the fire at 3:48 p.m. Tuesday at Explorer Pipeline Company, 6300 West Port Arthur Road.

Welding was being done on a pipe when the flash fire occurred. It is believed there was still product in the pipe at the time, according to Benson.

Of the six people injured, four were taken to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, one was taken to a burn center in Galveston by transport and the other was flown to a burn center in Galveston.

Explorer released a statement saying its focus is on the safety of employees and contractors.

“We are diligently working with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the contract companies to investigate the cause of the fire,” the statement reads. “The area of the pipeline where the incident occurred has been secured and safety precautions and protocols are in place. The incident has been contained and there is no risk to the surrounding area.”