Accra, Nov. 27, (UPI/GNA) - A powerful
explosion shook a petroleum processing plant near Houston early Wednesday and
injured at least three people, authorities said.
TPC Group, which processes crude oil into products for the petroleum and chemical industry, said the blast occurred around 1 a.m. at a "processing unit" at its plant in Port Neches, Texas, about 85 miles northeast of downtown Houston.
KHOU-TV reported "multiple" explosions at the plant.
"The event is ongoing but will be brought under control as quickly and safely as possible," the company said in a statement. "At this time, personnel at the site have been evacuated.
"Right now our focus is on protecting the safety of responders and the public, and minimizing any impact to the environment."
Authorities ordered residents within a half-mile of the site to evacuate, and those living south of Interstate 10 in Orange County were instructed to "shelter in place."
Social media posts from residents and a volunteer fire department in Port Neches, a city of 13,000 near the Louisiana border, showed bright orange flames and smoke emanating from the plant.
The company's website says the Port Neches plant has more than 175 full-time employees.