Two burned in warehouse explosion

March 27, 2008 4:47:52 PM PDT
Two workers are seriously burned after an explosion on the job. The explosion happened in Brookshire, west of Houston. It was at a business called Reliance Technology. The two victims were flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Their injuries are serious. Police tell us the two were making plastic gears using a chemical process when something went wrong and those chemicals exploded.

""We believe that at some point they were in the cleaning process," said Brookshire Police Chief Joe Prejean. "The solvent is very volatile. Somewhere we believe they were in the cleaning process of cleaning out their machine."

Firefighters were on the scene within nine minutes of the call for help. It took them another 45 minutes to put out the flames using foam.

"When you have a chemical fire, we like to use foam to help to cover it," explained Brookshire Fire Chief Joe Gibbs. "Sometimes water will agitate certain chemicals, so we'd rather use foam to assist in getting out the chemicals, so that's what we did.

The business does have a federal permit to house explosives on this site, but they were not involved in this chemical fire. The ATF showed up to confirm that.

Police tell us there were no witnesses other than the two men hurt. Those victims suffered second and third degree burns over much of their bodies.

A HazMat crew is trying to determine exactly what chemicals may have been released into the air, but they don't believe there was any danger to area residents.

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