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Enterprise fire, explosions claim contractor’s life

By BOBBY HORN JR.
MONT BELVIEU—Officials at Enterprise Products Partners LP’s have confirmed that one person was killed at the Mont Belvieu facility following the Feb. 9 explosion and fire.
Company spokesman Rick Rainey said that the body of Richard Shaw was found on Feb. 10. Shaw was a contract worker at the plant, employed by Turner Industries of Baton Rouge, La.
In a statement from Turner, CEO David Troupes said that his company wanted to extend “sympathy and condolences to the Shaw family.” Troupes added that Shaw was a “dedicated employee.”
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. Witnesses as far away as Crosby also reported hearing the sound of the explosion.
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 until late in the evening in both directions while fire crews battled the blaze.
“The partnership’s 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.”
He later added that they are looking at a possible pipeline failure as the cause, but that they would know better in the following weeks as they are joined with inspections from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A witness who was about 50 feet from the fire’s ignition source said he believed the Shaw was working on a pipeline when the fire started.