CSB probes Houston tank explosion
Dec 15, 2004 10:06 AM
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is investigating a December 3 storage tank explosion at the Marcus Oil and Chemical facility in Houston TX, according to CSB information.
CSB investigators believe the accident occurred when a 40,000-gallon chemical storage tank exploded. The tank was approximately 10 percent full at the time of the event and contained a raw material used in the production of polyethylene wax.
Two firefighters were injured during the emergency response and off-site buildings near the facility, including two churches, a house, and a social club, received structural damage.
Preliminary information indicates that the tank had been welded and modified to install internal heating coils, and that the tank had no pressure-relief system, but no causal link has been established between these circumstances and the accident Friday night, according to the CSB information.
Investigators also are drawing samples of chemical raw materials at the plant site. Priority will be to determine whether the tank simply failed due to excess pressure or if there was in fact an explosive event inside the vessel.
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