A major industrial accident was reported at the ExxonMobil plant.
The accident happened in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, December 23. There are no fatalities listed at the moment, although several have been confirmed injured.
Harris County Sheriff Office Issues Statement
Deputies are on scene of a major industrial accident at 3525 Decker Dr. in Baytown. The Exxon/Mobile plant. Some injuries have been reported. Please avoid the area.#hounews
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) December 23, 2021
The Harris County sheriff’s office released a statement on Twitter just after 3 AM stating, “Deputies are on scene of a major industrial accident at 3525 Decker Dr. in Baytown. The Exxon/Mobile plant. Some injuries have been reported. Please avoid the area.”
Just after 5 AM, they reported, “There have been 4 confirmed injuries, 3 of which were life flighted and 1 was taken to the hospital via ambulance. No fatalities have been reported. There is currently no shelter in place.”
Sheriff Ed Gonzalaz reported that some type of explosion occurred inside the plant, which had many local residents concerned. “Information is preliminary at this time: initial reports indicated some type of explosion occurred inside the plant,” he wrote at 3:37 AM. “LifeFlight is responding.”
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) December 23, 2021
“Anything about evacuations at this time?” one resident commented on the initial message. “I’m very close to Exxon. And wonder if it’s safe for me to go to sleep.”
“No word yet,” Gonzalez tweeted back. “Will determine that asap and advise.”
“For now, no reports to evacuate or shelter-in-place,” he wrote at 3:53 AM. “Four persons may be injured; three taken by Lifeflight and one by ambulance.”
ExxonMobil Baytown Area Twitter Page Provides Update
Around 1 a.m. on 12/23/2021, a fire occurred at our facility. At this time, emergency vehicles and smoke may be noticeable to the community. We are coordinating with local officials, and working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
— ExxonMobil Baytown Area (@ExxonMobilBTA) December 23, 2021
The official ExxonMobil Baytown Area Twitter page also provided an update on the situation shortly after 3 AM.
“Around 1 a.m. on 12/23/2021, a fire occurred at our facility,” they tweeted. “At this time, emergency vehicles and smoke may be noticeable to the community. We are coordinating with local officials, and working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
However, some local residents are saying that the fire may be a lot worse than they are making it seem.
“Little more than a fire,” one person commented. “My house shook to its foundation miles away from you.”
“Mine also,” said another resident. “Shook me out of bed!!!!!”
“Sounded like a howitzer in my backyard,” another added.
“Which facility?” asked another. “I’m over on Michigan St right now and have heard several helicopters nearby…”
Residents Offer Thoughts And Prayers For Injured Workers
— Cheryl Merritt (@mimcheryla) December 23, 2021
Other residents offered thoughts and prayers for the workers who had been injured and their families.
“Hoping for a full recovery for those injured,” another shared. “It was a very big blast at my home near [the] refinery, we knew it was bad.”
“Prayers for those injured & their families,” said another.
“Hope everyone [is] alright,” another added. “Prayers to all that’s affected.”
In 2019, the Baytown plant, located about 25 miles east of Houston, experienced another explosion that resulted in a fire that wounded dozens of employees and contractors. According to CNN, the fire was started in the polypropylene recovery unit, where plastic is purified for production.
The Baytown plant is reportedly the second-largest refinery in the United States and contains over two thousand employees.