Chemical plant blast kills 1, injures 2nd

Feb. 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

LAPORTE, Texas, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The body of a worker missing in a Texas chemical plant explosion was found and another man remains hospitalized in critical condition, a spokeswoman said.

Javier Ortiz, 30, a chemist, was reported missing Saturday after Friday's explosion and fire at the Air Liquide plant in Laporte, and crews discovered his body Saturday at approximately 7:30 P.M. after a 12-hour search, The Houston Chronicle reported.

LaPorte Police Sgt. John Krueger said the other employee suffered serious injuries but was able to respond to rescuers and was flown by helicopter to the hospital

Fifteen to 20 employees were believed to have been at the plant at the time of the 7:30 A.M. explosion, and the blast remained under investigation, Air Liquide spokesman Michael Rosen said.

The explosion was so loud that Marcela Lara, 26, an employee at a nearby restaurant thought a car had crashed into the restaurant, the Chronicle reported.

The plant uses gases, including argon, nitrogen and oxygen, for processing such products as electronics, food and beverages, a spokesman for the company said.

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