Six people are being treated for injuries after a fire at an ExxonMobil plant in Baytown, just east of Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"Care is being provided for six people with non life-threatening injuries," Sarah Nordin, a spokeswoman for the ExxonMobil Corporation, told the Chronicle. "We are not aware of any other injuries to people at this time."
The city of Baytown tweeted that the fire was in an area of the plant that contained polypropylene material, which is a kind of plastic. ExxonMobil asked that a shelter-in-place order be issued west of its plant and south of the Spur 330 highway, and the city followed suit, advising residents to stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed, and turn off the air conditioning.
Several schools were affected by the order, including Robert E. Lee High School and Travis Elementary. Locals first took notice of the plumes of black smoke seen from the highway around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
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Joshua Howell, who lives in a neighborhood near the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, told the Houston Chronicle he felt the explosion as he was driving home from work. He said it was loud enough to "shake windows."
ExxonMobil released a statement to the Chronicle that said its internal teams were working to extinguish the fire.
"We are conducting personnel accounting," the statement read. "Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the community. As a precaution, our industrial hygiene staff is conducting air quality monitoring at the site and at the fenceline, and we are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We regret any disruption or inconvenience this incident may have caused the community."
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