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A possible valve failure could be the cause of the fire that occurred March 30 at ExxonMobil’s chemical plant in Beaumont, TX, company officials said.

“A detailed investigation is currently underway to better understand the circumstances that led to (the) event,” said spokesperson Lee Dula. “Early signs indicate that a valve on a line in a storage area experienced a mechanical failure, ultimately resulting in a fire.”

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A vapor released from a propylene line and ended up ignited, Dula said. As a result of the blaze, the entire plant shut down.

“The material in question, propylene, is a basic chemical building block essential to the production of plastics. It is processed to create the polypropylene found in automobiles and appliances,” Dula said.

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Dula did not have a timeline for when the plant would resume normal operations.

“We are committed to learn from this incident and share any preventive steps that are identified,” he said.

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