Body found in rubble of Houston plant explosion
One person has been found amongst the rubble of the Goodyear Houston Chemical plant after an explosion this morning.
Six people were also injured.
Scott Baughman, a spokesman for Goodyear, said the employee's body was discovered shortly after 2 p.m. when crews were able to go into the affected part of the plant.
"During our first safe opportunity, we discovered a body under some debris," said Baughman, a Goodyear spokesman based in Akron, Ohio.
The name of the employee was not released.
Workers returned to their jobs after air tests showed that ammonia fumes from the explosion.
The explosion, reported to the Houston Fire Department at 7:36 a.m., led to the evacuation of the entire plant's estimated 200 workers because of concerns about the fumes, said plant manager Mike Lockwood.
Federal and state agencies plan to investigate the cause of the incident.
One of the injured people, a Goodyear employee, suffered a laceration and the other five, who are contract employees, suffered the effects of inhaling ammonia fumes, Lockwood said.
Five of the workers, including the one who suffered a laceration, have been treated and released from local hospitals, Baughman said. One person who breathed ammonia fumes remains under medical observation, he said.
Lockwood said the damage was limited to a small area, but that officials decided to evacuate the entire plant because of the threat of ammonia fumes.
Plant officials conducted a walk-through and tested the air quality before giving the all-clear signal allowing workers back onto the grounds, he said.
The plant produces synthetic rubber for the production of tires.
Lockwood said the explosion was the first major incident at the plant since he became the manager about three years ago.
The explosion occurred in one of three heat exchanging units, which are about 2 feet wide and 15 feet long, Lockwood said. The units use ammonia as a refrigerant to cool processed fluids, he said.