Chemical Explosion in East Texas: What To Know

November 8, 2023

There has been a chemical plant explosion in Shepherd, TX on FM 1127.

Polk County Emergency Management, Texas in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning describing a “developing situation” in East Texas. Residents within a one-mile radius of the fire had been advised to “shelter in place and turn off HVAC systems in homes and businesses immediately,” however, as of Wednesday afternoon, shelter-in-place orders in the Polk and San Jacinto County were lifted.

*This is a developing story*

Who: Residents within a one-mile radius of the fire at a chemical plant in Shepherd, TX are under a shelter-in-place order. One employee of the chemical plant has been injured with minor burns, and taken to a hospital for care. In a briefing Wednesday morning, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said 31 children at a private school nearby were safely evacuated through a field.

What: A chemical fire at Sound Resource Solutions, “a company that recycles and repackages various chemicals (The Associated Press). A press release from Polk County Office Emergency Management said the company “makes solvents for glue and paint remover,” and that the chemicals the plant has reported housing “are known to have acute toxicity, carcinogenicity, and reproductive toxicity, and may cause serious eye damage or eye irritation, skin corrosion or irritation, aspiration hazard, and organ toxicity.” As of 1:00 pm cst, around 20 fire crews were working on controlling the fire, Emmitt Eldridge with the San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management said, also noting that air monitoring “being done in the area had not detected any hazardous chemicals” (The AP).

When: Eldridge said the fire began at about 8:17 am on Wednesday morning.

Where: Shepherd, Texas, located around 60 miles northeast of Houston.

Why/How: An investigation has begun, per CBS News Texas. President of Sound Resource Solutions, Geoff Harfield, said “a forklift incident” triggered the fire.

This is a developing story; here is the most recent press briefing from San Jacinto County Officials (another briefing is expected in the coming hours):

Texas officials issue shelter-in-place order after chemical plant explosion that injured worker (The Associated Press)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas