Nearby Residents React to American Acryl Explosion

Yesterday’s explosion at the American Acryl plant was felt and heard by many residents in the area. But as Wendy Siegle reports, residents in the area realize the potential risks of living near refineries.

“I was down about the school and I saw a big mushroom cloud come up. I mean it was a huge black cloud. I’ve never seen one like that before.”

That’s Jim Pinson. He’s lived in Seabrook since 1967 and says yesterday’s explosion at the American Acryl plant was a first for him and for the area. Locals say they hear the occasional transformer explosion from time to time, but nothing on this magnitude. Alberto Decardenas was on a conference call.

“I heard the explosion and the windows rattled, you know, came out here to see what happened and all the neighbors were out there watching the plume going over, not knowing if this thing was toxic or not.”

Seabrook expolision
But even though the residents I spoke with were concerned by the explosion that occurred less then three miles away, they say it doesn’t deter them from staying put. Jill Williams has lived in the Seabrook area most of her life and says she grew up knowing that although unlikely, events like yesterday’s are always a possibility.

“It’s always been there in the back of our minds, but I worked at Texas City plant for a while too, so I’m aware of that. I mean, it’s just part of being here on the coast.”

Locals were also comforted by how quickly the smoke dissipated. Again, here’s Alberto Decardenas.

“It sounded like they got it contained pretty quick and you could see the wind was blowing about 20 miles an hour towards the south, so that plume was going pretty quick.”

Most locals say there were scared, even if it was only for a second. But Jim Pinson says he wasn’t worried at all.

“My wife said get inside. I said ah, I’m 75 years old. I’m not worried about stuff like that (laughs).”

Wendy: “But she is?”
Pinson: “Yeah.”
Wendy: “She stayed inside?”
Pinson: “Yes, and she brought the cat in (laughs).”

Ultimately, residents here say they are just relieved no one was seriously hurt.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required