El Dorado Chemical Company goes up in smoke!

Legal news for Texas lawyers. Fire at a chemical plant releases toxic smoke into the air.

Texas lawyer’s alert- Texas chemical company catches fire and release toxic smoke causing residents to suffer smoke inhalation.

Bryan, TX—A fire at the El Dorado Chemical Company have forced tens of thousands of residents in the Bryan-College Station area to evacuate. The fire broke out around noon on Thursday, July 30, 2009, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

The chemical plant which processes a toxic chemical called ammonium nitrate, ignited into a blaze causing a 350-275 square-mile-area with 70,000-80,000 residents to be evacuated. The El Dorado Chemical Co. blends and packages fertilizer along with other explosive and hazardous chemicals. According to officials, as of Thursday night several hospitals had treated and evaluated at least 36 people for smoke inhalation and other fire-related ailments. Affected residents have reported irritation of the eyes, nose, and throats from the toxic smoke and fumes. The sick Bryan-College stations are reportedly being treated at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, College Station Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s in Navasota. A dark cloud of toxic smoke was reported to have extended more than 60 miles from the blaze at the chemical plant. Although the exact cause for the fire is unknown, officials believe the fire started from a welder who was working on an empty storage bin inside the warehouse. The warehouse was completely destroyed in the fire. The four reported employees working at the warehouse escaped without suffering any injuries. Evacuated residents are reportedly being sheltered at the Texas A&M Reed Arena, and a middle and high school in College Station.

Officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/ are on their way to the chemical plant to conduct a fire investigation and air quality monitoring. As of Friday, the evacuation order for thousands of Bryan residents has been lifted, but about 500 homeowners are still required to stay out of the area.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas lawyers.