Chemical plant incidents prompt evacuations in Mont Belvieu

MONT BELVIEU, TX (KTRK) -- Mont Belvieu emergency officials evacuated part of town as a precaution for several hours on Sunday after a chemical leak and fire at two chemical plants on TX-146 on Sunday. City Manager Bryan Easum said the leak at the LyondellBasell plant was a mix of brine water with hydrocarbon product.

Easum said there was also a fire at the neighboring Lone Star property, but could not provide further details other than to say the fire was extinguished Sunday afternoon.

VIDEO: Oil well burns in Mont Belvieu
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A fire burns in Mont Belvieu.

The part of town known as "the Hill" was evacuated, which includes about 15-20 residences, Easum said. Traffic was rerouted from TX-146 and Highway 565 and Loop 207.

Easum said he was not sure if the leak and the fire were related in any way. He said 75 firefighters from Mont Belvieu and mutual aid first responders from area industrial plants. No one was hurt.

The cause of both incidents was unclear.

Lone Star spokesperson Vicki Granado said the fire was out and there were no injuries. She said the cause was under investigation and updates would be provided as information becomes available.

Statement from LyondellBasell:

Earlier today, monitors indicated a pressure build-up in a wellhead at our pipeline storage facility in Mont Belvieu off Highway 146. This well stores light hydrocarbons that are used in the manufacture of products such as rubber and tires. We are currently working to reduce the pressure. All employees have been accounted for and there were no injuries. Air monitoring shows no offsite impact.

We are working closely with local authorities and other area facilities to ensure continued safety of the public. We understand also that the City of Mont Belvieu has ordered evacuation of the immediate area. As a precautionary measure, of portions Highway 146 have been closed.

We also understand that there was a fire at the Lone Star facility in the area. This is not on LyondellBasell/Equistar property, and we understand that the fire is out and currently under investigation. The cause is unknown at this time.

Our Mont Belvieu Storage Facility is one of two storage locations operated by LyondellBasell's pipeline group in the Texas Gulf Coast region.

The 42-acre facility uses caverns in underground salt domes to store various feedstocks and refined products and distributes them via pipeline to other company facilities and several customers in the region.

-Faye Justice Eson, Senior Manager, Global External Communications at LyondellBasell
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