Thanksgiving spelled a catastrophic fate for a Texas town on November 28th! You could see abandoned homes that people left in haste, Red Cross volunteers handing out the naps on cots, and half-consumed Turkey at the hotel rooms.
What had happened?
Of the many incidents that can get extrapolated, here’s one! Doug Hinson was all set to be present at his son’s home and be with the entire family. However, that was much before he, as well as all other Port Neches, Texas residents, got jolted by a blast on Wednesday. It was a blast in the Texas Petroleum Chemical plant with blazing flames rising to the sky. The explosion also affected people in the homes closely and injured close to eight residents.
Doug Hinson was at his work on Wednesday. He was a couple of miles away from the blast site. The moment he became aware of the second explosion, he reached home and left with others to a place Beaumont. There are thousands of others who escaped to this region because of this sudden and dangerous explosion. The fire in the chemical plant kept burning till Thursday. Doug Hinson is a trailer mechanic who believed that staying fifteen miles at a distance from the explosion, is a safer decision than staying only a half-a-mile away. For him and many others, Thanksgiving meal and family gathering got replaced by escaping and eating beef jerky sticks on the pickup trucks.
Effects of the chemical plant explosion
This sudden and dangerous chemical plant explosion had unsettled a community surrounded by chemical plants and oil refineries. The community now is encompassed by flare stacks and galvanized pipes. Also, the chemical plant continues to emit a poisonous black smoke that people could detect from a distance on November 28th. The surrounding area includes middle and high school, residential complexes, playgrounds, grocery stores, churches, and eateries within a few miles away.
It’s disheartening to know that the petrochemical industry contributed to the area’s significant earning in several ways. It provided many people jobs at an attractive wage. With sudden and dangerous explosions, such as this, one can only recall the inevitable trade-offs when there’s a petrochemical plant nearby.
What did the government have to say?
According to Glenn Johnson, Mayor, Port Neches, the petrochemical industry has an essential role in making what Southeast Texas is today. It has been playing an indispensable role over the last 100 years. He also asserted that such an industry is not devoid of such explosion dangers and other refinery hurdles. Also, the prominent environmentalists have shared their concerns for the community at large. And these concerns not only stem from such explosions but from the overall petrochemical industry vertical.
Other researches and scholars stated that such a catastrophe shouldn’t be a part of any resident’s reality. One of the people having similar concerns includes Yvette Arellano, who is a policy researcher in the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services.
However, it is essential to note that the chemical plant in Port Neches, that generates synthetic rubber used in automobile hoses and tires. It has a record of fines and violations that dates back over a decade. It only indicates that there should be better security provisions for the communities in proximity to the plant.