1 dead, 6 hurt in Houston plant blast

HOUSTON, June 11 (UPI) -- One worker died and six were injured Wednesday in an explosion and ammonia leak at a chemical plant in Houston, company officials and authorities said.

The incident at the Goodyear facility forced the evacuation of about 200 employees.


The female worker's body was found under debris about seven hours after the morning explosion, KHOU-TV in Houston reported. The discovery caught plant management and fire officials off-guard because it had been thought she had been accounted for.

"That's a gap in our accounting system and that will be part of our investigation," Goodyear plant manager Mike Lockwood told KHOU-TV.

"We both felt like everyone had been accounted for and sometimes if you don't have someone coming up asking where someone is that's a good sign we don't have someone missing," said Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Jack Williams.

Plant officials told the Houston Chronicle there was no significant damage to the plant, which produces synthetic rubber for tires.

The blast occurred on a heat-exchanging unit that uses ammonia as a coolant. The cause was under investigation.

Of the six injured workers, one was reported in critical condition and another in fair condition at Memorial Hermann in the Medical Center. Two others were treated and released, while the conditions of two taken to a third hospital were not known.


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