Update at 3:16 p.m.
During a press conference, officials said a fire outside of a tank containing liquid petroleum gas caused the liquid inside the tank to boil, eventually causing what's called a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE, at the INEOS Phenol plant in Pasadena.
As of now, the cause of the initial fire is still unknown.
Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia joined other Harris County officials during the briefing. He said one person was hospitalized.
“There is one person that is hospitalized and is reported to be in stable condition,” Garcia said. “And we’re very grateful for that.”
Garcia said he was very “impressed” with the response to the emergency.
“This is why we should be very, very appreciative of our first responders,” he said. “They run to these events that we usually run from.”
Beltway 8 and the Houston Ship Channel bridge were closed after the explosion, but have since reopened.
Firefighters have put out a chemical fire from an explosion at the INEOS Phenol Cumene plant in Pasadena.
The explosion happened just after noon on plant grounds near the Houston Ship Channel.
Large plumes of black smoke could be seen for miles, as far as Southwest Houston.
The city of Pasadena has not issued protective measures for nearby communities. The fire was extinguished just over an hour after the explosion and Pasadena firefighters responded to the scene.
No word yet on any injuries to workers at the plant.
According to the plant’s website, cumene is a clear, colorless liquid used as a thinner for paints, lacquers, and enamels and as a component of high octane fuels.
UPDATE (1:17PM 3/22/23)
Pasadena Alert: The fire that was occurring at INEOS at 225/Beltway 8 has been extinguished, no protective measures are needed for Pasadena residence.
— City of Pasadena TX #pasadenatxgov (@pasadenatxgov) March 22, 2023
This story will be updated.