An explosion at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX operated by KMCO, LLC has left one person dead and two others in critical condition. Reports that James Earl “Bubba” Magnum, 27, of Daisetta may have been trying to prevent the explosion when he was killed did not come as a surprise to members of that close-knit community now reeling from the loss of a kind and generous person who was always smiling and always ready to help.
The names of Magnum’s injured co-workers, who were airlifted from the scene with serious burn injuries have not been released.
The blast occurred yesterday morning at around 11:00 prompting a shelter-in-place order for everyone within a mile of the plant located at 16503 Ramsey Rd. The order remained in place for hours as crews from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitored air quality and firefighters fought to bring the dangerous situation under control.
Employees told various media outlets that they were told to evacuate moments before a series of smaller blasts that preceded the main explosion. People who live miles away from the plant felt the earth shake, one said it sounded like a sonic boom.
This morning, EPA crews continue air quality testing while firefighters continue to survey the scene for hotspots. Fire officials believe a transfer line carrying the highly flammable gas isobutylene ignited causing a fire that led to the explosion. But the area believed to be the origin of the blast is considered too dangerous for them to approach.
History of Violations
KMCO makes glycol, antifreeze, brake fluid, and products used for cement grinding and oil extraction, according to its website. It is owned by ORG Chemical Holdings, a private equity firm which also owns a facility in Port Arthur.
In 2016, the company was convicted of knowingly violating the Clean Air Act and was ordered to may $3.5 million in fines. Over the years, the company has also been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for numerous safety violations including those pertaining to the “process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.” In four OSHA inspections between 2010 and 2013, the company amassed 66 violations some of which resulted in injuries.
“What we often see is that these tragedies are preventable,” said Fred Pritzker, an explosion lawyer whose firm Pritzker Hageman represents people all over the country who have been injured in explosions and families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. To contact them for a free consultation, call 1 (888) 377-8900. Or, send a text to 612-261-0856, You can also use the contact form below.