Family expresses frustration after plant blast

HOUSTON FULL INTERVIEW: Victim's husband speaks with Eyewitness News
FULL INTERVIEW: Victim's daughter speaks with Eyewitness News

The explosion happened yesterday at the plant along Highway 225 in southeast Houston. While officials initially told Eyewitness News that workers only suffered minor injuries, that all changed hours later when a woman's body was found inside the plant.

The family of Gloria McInnis called Eyewitness News and said they wanted to talk. Her husband of 18 years, who is a retiree from the Goodyear plant, is upset and frustrated over how Goodyear mangers handled the explosion and how they put out what he says was bad information leading to false hope.

Ray McInnis says his wife, Gloria, has worked at the Goodyear plant for the last 31 years. She was actually on the emergency response team for the plant.

He says he saw on the news that there was an explosion and an ammonia leak. He tried to call her but never reached her. He was able to get through to a guard at the plant who told him Gloria was OK. Then when he saw the plant manger say the all-clear was given on the 11am news, he just thought Gloria had gotten too busy to call him back.

Then, a few hours later, he got a call.

"About a quarter to two, Goodyear called here and wanted to know if she was here," said McInnis. "I said she was at work. They said, 'Oh, OK.' And I said, 'Y'all haven't found her yet?' And they gave the phone to someone else and they said they were still looking for her. That's when I left this house and went out there and they said she didn't make it."

McInnis says last night, two Goodyear mangers came to his home and gave him his wife's belongings. As of this morning, he says he has not been able to see his wife's body.

Plant mangers also reported the six people who were injured at the plant had minor injuries. We now know two of them are in serious condition.

McInnis' family has now filed suit against Goodyear. They're suing for gross negligence. The company says the delay was caused by a reporting error from one of its employees. However, the family says the incident shows a disregard from the company towards its employees.

Statement from Goodyear

    Goodyear is saddened to report the death of long-time associate Gloria McInnis in an explosion at its Houston chemical plant Wednesday morning, pending official confirmation by the medical examiner.

    Gloria had been a Goodyear associate for 32 years and most recently was a production supervisor. Gloria was a dedicated worker and well-liked by her colleagues.

    Goodyear and the Houston plant team are devastated by the loss of Gloria, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

    Grief counselors are on site to tend to our associates' emotional needs.

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