Officials Confirm No Risk of Air Contamination After Leak at Texas Chemical Plant

Officials confirmed there was no risk of air contamination after a chemical leak at the LyondellBasell plant near Houston, the Associated Press reported. The leak, which occurred around 7:35 p.m. Tuesday, killed two people and injured dozens more, according to officials.

The company said that air quality monitoring "continues to demonstrate no levels of concern for the community," and the leak was fixed and cleanup was in progress. It also said it was collaborating closely with responders to make sure all employees and contractors who were working in the area of the plant with the leak were accounted for, the Associated Press reported.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a statement on Twitter after learning of the deaths.

"Heartbroken to hear of the two fatalities at the Lyondell Basell facility in La Porte. Our county and other first responder agencies are working to support the other workers impacted and to verify that the incident is contained. Grateful to all responders," the statement said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

LyondellBasell Plant Near Houston
A chemical leak at the LyondellBasell plant in Texas killed two people and injured dozens more Tuesday night. The refinery is seen near the Houston Ship Channel, part of the Port of Houston, on March 6, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Loren Elliott/AFP via Getty Images

The incident involved an acetic acid leak at the facility in the La Porte Complex, company spokesperson Chevalier Gray said in a statement. Emergency responders from the City of La Porte and Channel Industries Mutual Aid were on the scene.

Gray said two people "sustained fatal injuries" and four others sustained burns at the plant. The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office later confirmed dozens more were injured. The two who died were contractors, the company said, and their names weren't immediately released.

Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen said at a news conference Tuesday night one person was life flighted to a hospital and one was sent by ambulance. Five others were treated at the scene and dozens were being monitored for symptoms that could include difficulty breathing and swallowing and irritants or burns to the skin.

"Sometimes the terminology in these situations when there's a leak, you think of something pouring out. A leak could also be something exploded off the top and the chemical came out. So once we get into the investigation, we'll be able to specifically detail that out," Christensen said.

The cause was under investigation, the company said.

La Porte is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Houston. The plant is in an unincorporated part of Harris County, adjacent to La Porte, according to a statement issued by La Porte EMS, and no shelter in place or other protective actions were recommended for the community.

Chemical Plant Company Employees
The LyondellBasell leak killed two people and injured dozens more, according to officials. An employee of U.S. chemical group LyondellBasell waves a French flag as the employees gather during a new general meeting to protest against the closing of their plant in Berre l'Etang, southern France, on September 29, 2011. Anne Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images