What we know about plant at center of large fire in Shepherd, Texas

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023
What we know about plant at center of large fire in Shepherd, Texas
Sound Resource Solutions, a petroleum processing plant, has 37 employees and has been in the community in Shepherd for 14 years, the owner said.

SHEPHERD, Texas (KTRK) -- As a large fire burned for hours Wednesday morning, injuring one employee, ABC13 has learned more about the plant at the center of the incident in Shepherd, Texas.

What is the company? What does it produce?

Sound Resource Solutions, located at 731 FM 1127, is a chemical plant that makes solvents for glue and paint remover. A source told Eyewitness News that a 1,000-gallon propane tank is in the middle of the fire, and a four-inch natural gas main is under the ground.

FULL COVERAGE: 1 employee injured, over 400 residents without power due to large plant fire in Shepherd, Texas

How long has it been operating? Are there any past violations?

The head of the company, Geoff Harfield, said during officials' first update on the incident that the company has been part of the community since 2014.

13 Investigates' Kevin Ozebek began looking into the company's background and found that the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, last checked them for "Compliance Monitoring" on Feb. 4, 2022. There were no violations at that time.

According to the EPA website, Sound Resource Solutions has no history of significant violations.

ABC13 also hasn't found any Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) violations and no history of issues with OSHA.

How many people work for Sound Resource Solutions? How many were there on Wednesday?

Sound Resource Solutions has 37 employees. Harfield said 19 of them were at work at the time.

The business does deal with hazardous waste and a lot of flammable materials. EPA records show more than 4,700 kilograms of hazardous waste were removed last year from the same facility that burned Wednesday.

What is inside Sound Resource Solutions? What may have caused the fire?

Officials said diesel and turpentine are among the flammable liquids.

Amid Wednesday's incident, an employee told Eyewitness News that a man was operating a forklift when the equipment ignited. The employee described the incident as a "freak accident."

The injured worker was treated for burns to his arms and face but is expected to be OK.