Updated: 37 injured in ExxonMobil plant fire in Baytown

Updated 3:03 p.m. July 31

According to a company spokesperson, 37 people have suffered non-life threatening injuries due to the fire at the ExxonMobil Olefins Plant off Hwy. 146 at Spur 330 in Baytown.

All workers are said to have been accounted for. None of those injured required hospitalization, according to ExxonMobil.

The city of Baytown also released an update on social media Wednesday afternoon announcing the shelter in place enacted earlier in the day had been lifted.

Original story posted 12:20 p.m. July 31

A fire is burning at the ExxonMobil Olefins Plant off Hwy. 146 at Spur 330 in Baytown.

A shelter-in-place has been issued for residents who live west of the plant and south of Spur 330. The shelter-in-place has been issued out of an abundance of caution.

According to a tweet from the city of Baytown, the fire is in the unit that contains polypropylene material. Another name for it is propylene, which is an extremely flammable gas.

The material is easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames and will form explosive mixtures with air.

Any cylinders exposed to the fire may vent and release flammable gas through pressure relief devices.

ExxonMobil released the following statement about the fire: 

A fire has occurred at the Baytown Olefins Plant. Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire. We are conducting personnel accounting. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the surrounding community. As a precaution, our Industrial Hygiene staff is conducting air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. We are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community. 

When it comes to the health impacts of the gas, vapors may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning.

Contact with gas or liquefied gas can also cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that his department is monitoring the situation and is ready to respond if needed.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

ExxonMobil's website states that the Baytown Olefins plant began operations in 1979 and is one of the largest ethylene plants in the world.

This is the second time within a few months that a fire has broken out at an ExxonMobil plant. That previous incident occurred back in March.

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