Baytown explosion: Outrage at ExxonMobil after second explosion in 2 years at Texas refinery

Baytown explosion: Outrage at ExxonMobil after second explosion in 2 years at Texas refinery
Fire breaks out at Houston-area ExxonMobil oil refinery (Twitter)

At least four people have been injured in a massive explosion at an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Texas. The blaze has been declared a "major industrial accident" by the law enforcement agents as enormous flames could be seen shooting out of the Baytown chemical plant into the night sky over San Jacinto Bay as residents around the area reported "a large boom" strong enough to shake houses and"knock pictures off the wall."

The Harris County Sheriff's Office described the incident as a "major industrial accident," reporting some people had been injured. The announcement also urged locals to avoid the area. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reported that "four persons may be injured" but so far there have been no orders to evacuate or shelter-in-place. Fire and police services were at the scene. The exact extent to which the fire has spread across the huge site is still unknown.




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ExxonMobil has released a statement saying: "Around 1 a.m. on 12/23/2021, a fire occurred at our facility. At this time, emergency vehicles and smoke may be noticeable to the community. We are coordinating with local officials, and working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."


A number of videos of the aftermath of the blast were posted on social media, most of them recorded by the local residents. The videos showed terrifying orange flames which arose from a large metal setup measuring several stories high.



Shocked residents in Baytown and nearby Houston took to social media to ask what had happened and whether the facility was still safe. One of them tweeted: "Just had big enough boom that house shook & everything inside the house rattled. Sounded like freight train connecting cars outside the house." Another commented: "Explosion at Exxon! It rumbled my apartment and knocked my pictures off the wall." A third wrote: "Little more than a fire, my house shook to its foundation miles away from [Exxon]."




'Exxon needs to be punished'

The 3,400-acre Baytown complex was founded 100 years ago in 1919. The plant includes a 561,000-barrel-a-day refinery. This is not the first time the ExxonMobil plant has suffered a major incident. An explosion occurred at the plant back in 2019 which was believed to have caused a massive blaze in an area of the plant that contains polypropylene material. The incident happened on July 31. At the time, 37 people had to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, including first-degree burns. As a result, the current explosion was slammed by a user on the internet. "Exxon Baytown just tweeted out "there is a fire and some smoke in the community..." Like, that's a goddamn explosion. How many explosions does this make in the past couple's got to be a shitload. Exxon needs to be punished. #Exxon #ExxonExplosion," one of them wrote, adding in another tweet, "Yay...another one."



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