Explosion shakes plant near Houston; injuries reported

Posted: Monday, March 27, 2000

PASADENA, Texas (AP) - An explosion today rocked a Phillips Petroleum plant near the Houston Ship Channel, causing an undetermined number of injuries and sending a large column of smoke into the air.

Workers in neighboring plants and area residents were urged to remain indoors while officials tried to determine what was burning. Children in area schools were kept inside after the bell rang.

``The plume appears to be moving upwards,'' city spokesman David Benson said. ``But in case the wind shifts we'd like people in a safe place.''

Phillips Petroleum spokesman Norm Berkley said an undetermined number of people were injured. Details on the injuries were not immediately available.

The Phillips complex was the site of a 1989 series of explosions and fires in a polyethylene reactor that killed 23 and injured 130.

Last June, two people were killed and four were injured in an explosion at the complex. Afterward, federal officials fined Phillips $204,000 for 13 alleged safety violations.

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