Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, Harris County Pollution Control, Harris County Public Health and other government agencies are on site at the KMCO chemical plant in Crosby today as the investigation begins into what caused yesterday’s fire. The initial explosion, triggered by a flammable gas called Isobutylene, is responsible for one fatality and two serious injuries. Emergency crews extinguished the fire late Tuesday afternoon.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Harris County Pollution Control Services (HCPCS) are actively monitoring air quality. Throughout the incident and overnight, ground crews did not detect any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The EPA Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) bus was present on scene yesterday and will be on scene again today to continue monitoring for any organic and inorganic compounds. Any detectable odor in the Crosby area may be attributed to highly odoriferous compounds but this does not pose a health threat.
The EPA also flew the Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) plane into the plume yesterday. Results of the ASPECT flight are expected within the next 24 hours and will be available on the EPA’s website.
We will continue to monitor this situation and keep the public informed as needed.