By BOBBY HORN JR.
MONT BELVIEUOfficials at Enterprise Products Partners LPs facility in Mont Belvieu are attempting to assess the damage after multiple explosions rocked the plant Tuesday afternoon.
Company spokesman Rick Rainey said the fire started around 12:15 p.m. in the west storage facility. Witnesses at the plant said some pickup trucks in the parking lot exploded from the heat.
As of Tuesday night, Rainey said that one contractor was still missing. No other injuries were reported. The roadway of FM 1942 was closed and all access to the plant by the public.
Witnesses as far away as Crosby reported hearing the sound of the explosion.
Enterprise Products operates a natural gas liquids fractionators, propylene fractionators, butane isomerization units, octane enhancers and import/export terminals at the facility.
City officials said that they did not order a shelter in place, and they did not believe there was a public hazard. State Highway 146, which is adjacent to the facility, was closed in both directions while fire crews battled the blaze.
The partnerships main facilities at Mont Belvieu were not damaged and remain operation, Rainey said. Enterprise will provide a further update once the impact of the fire has been more fully assessed.
Rainey said that for the time being they will let the fire burn itself out. He added that it was too early speculate on the cause of the fire.
A witness who was about 50 feet from the fires ignition source said he believed two men were welding on a pipeline when the fire started. One man stated he got away when a popping noise started and he did not know what happened to the other worker.
Barbers Hill ISD Spokesperson Dr. Gayle Woodall said that they allowed parents to pickup their children. Students were also kept inside building and not allowed outside for recess, she said. The high school also released students at 1:30 p.m. The Barbers Hill school complex is between seven and eight miles from the facility.
By BOBBY HORN JR.