Fire breaks out at Exxon Mobil refinery in Houston area

City of Baytown

City of Baytown

More than 30 people suffered minor injuries Wednesday in an explosion and subsequent fire at the ExxonMobil plant in Baytown, officials said.

The fire is at the ExxonMobil Baytown Complex's Olefins plant, located at 3525 Decker Drive. The company was still working to shut down the olefins unit which processes propane and propylene - a plastics building block - and isolate the fuel keeping the fire burning, he said.

Thirty-seven people were treated for non-life threatening injuries, including first-degree burns, in the fire, plant manager Jason Duncan said to KHOU11.

Earlier, Exxon Mobil said in a statement that six people were injured. Firefighters and equipment from the city entered the plant at midday to assist, an official said. By Wednesday afternoon, the smoke had lessened.

As of Wednesday 4pm ET (3pm CT) the fire was isolated and contained, but not yet extinguished. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including out employees, contractors and the community.

According to the City of Baytown, the fire is in a unit that contains polypropylene material.

The shelter-in-place has been issued out of an abundance of caution, Texas TV station KTRK reported online.

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The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Exxon Mobil says it's performing air quality monitoring at the site and "available information shows no adverse impact at this time".

Wednesday's fire is the latest at a Houston-area petrochemical facility this year, including one at another facility on the Exxon Mobil Baytown complex.

Exxon past year completed the construction of a multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker at the Baytown Olefins Plant.

This is the third fire at a petrochemical facility in the area in recent months.

Harris County Pollution Control is reporting their monitoring data at PCS.HarrisCountyTX.gov. One person died in April when a tank holding flammable chemicals caught fire in Crosby, and a storage facility in Deer Park burned for several days in March.

The Baytown complex that includes the olefins plant where the fire occurred employs about 7,000 people among four manufacturing sites that cover 3,400 acres (13.8 square kilometers).

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