Several workers inside Air Liquide facility in La Porte during explosion, fire Saturday

February 10, 2013 4:05:22 PM PST
We have new information on Saturday morning's deadly explosion at a plant in La Porte

A spokesman for Air Liquide says 13 people were working at the facility at the time of the explosion. Six were inside, but he did not know if they were in the lab where the explosions occurred.

One worker was killed. His body has been recovered from the plant. Another worker is in the hospital in serious, but stable condition.

More than 24 hours after the series of explosions set off a fire at the plant, investigators still don't have a cause.

"You're wondering if you're going to blow up in it," said nearby homeowner Will Williams. "It's kind of nerve-wracking to be so close to something like that."

Dozens of homes sit in the shadow of the plant, which is surrounded by other gas and chemical plants. Homeowners like Williams say the threat of explosions and fires is just a fact of life.

"Yeah, it's just a way of life down this way," he said. "It's chemical plant city down here."

Air Liquide representatives say the plant mixes chemicals and gases for industrial use. Air monitoring during the fire showed no particulates in the air. But for a couple hours, there was a lot of uncertainty.

Irene Salcedo says she's lived in the area for 30 years and has always been afraid of an explosion.

"We were worrying about what we had to do," she told us. "We didn't hear the sirens from the city."

The wind was swirling Saturday after the explosions. At one point, the winds changed direction toward businesses and homes. Although authorities said there was nothing harmful coming from the plant, it did make people nervous.

"Everybody was kind of running back," said Diana Robles, who works across from the plant. "And I got scared and the man said, 'Better get inside,' and I said, 'OK,' because you never know what's going to happen."

Air Liquide confirms one employee, identified by his family as 30-year-old Javier Ortiz, was killed in the fire. A second employee was badly burned.

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