A pressure safety valve released ethylene, causing a flash fire in one process unit leaving 21 workers injured at Kuraray America Inc.’s Pasadena, TX, ethylene vinyl alcohol plant this past Saturday.
The fire broke out at 10:22 a.m., officials said. The fire was quickly extinguished, said company officials and the Pasadena Office of Emergency Management.
Preliminary findings indicate a pressure safety valve released ethylene, causing a flash fire in one process units. The company and authorities are investigating the incident.
“At the time of the incident, 266 employees and contract personnel were onsite as part of a turnaround with heavy maintenance activities. All have been accounted for. Twenty-one individuals were transported to off-site medical facilities for treatment,” Kuraray America officials said.
The Pasadena Office of Emergency Management said there was no danger to the public.
The city, in a statement, said “it will continue to monitor the situation” and alert residents to any changes in emergency status.
“On behalf of Kuraray America, Inc., we send our thoughts and prayers to those who were injured and impacted by today’s incident,” said Plant Manager Eric Bass. “Our team is committed to determining the cause of the incident.”
Kuraray America is headquartered in Houston, and is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kuraray Co. Ltd. The company makes EVAL-brand EVOH barrier resin in Japan, the U.S. and Belgium.
Meanwhile, a four-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) deployed to the scene.