LA PORTE, Texas – Fire investigators are looking for a missing employee and the cause of an explosion and fire at the Air Liquide cylinder plant in La Porte.
Around 8:00 am Saturday, the emergency crews were called out to Fairmont Parkway near Bay Area Boulevard.
A spokesman for the company that supplies and mixes nitrogen and carbon dioxide for oil and gas producers said 20 employees were inside at the time. He said one person was airlifted to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston with serious burn injuries and in serious condition.
One employee, who Air Liquide said was a technician working in the mixing area, is unaccounted for.
“We’ve got a tremendous safety record and this is something we hate to see,” said the spokesman. “We train and we do what we can to take care of these things and we’re working towards that.”
Saturday, the City of La Porte sent out the following message regarding the explosions:
“A fire and explosion at the Air Liquide cylinder plant located on Fairmont Parkway has caused a lot of smoke and fire activity in the immediate area. There is no danger to the public at this time; however, should conditions change, the City may need to issue a shelter in place.”
The city of Pasadena issued a shelter-in-place for residents, but it was later lifted.
Authorities will continue to search the area again, as they are unsure if the missing person is still in the area.
Saturday morning, Mario Ortiz said he was opening his restaurant Burrito Express when he recorded the explosion.
“We’re so close to so many refineries, we just thought the worst,” said Ortiz.
The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time.