14 workers injured in fire at Formosa Plastics

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 3, 2013 10:40 am ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 11:52 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers

POINT COMFORT, TEXAS — Fourteen workers were injured May 2 in a fire at an ethylene purification unit operated by Formosa Plastics Corp. USA in Point Comfort.

Workers Steven Vasquez and Jose Campos were in critical condition May 3 at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston, a hospital spokeswoman said. Both men had been life-flighted to that location.

Formosa spokesman Steve Rice said May 3 that eight of the other 12 injured were treated and released from local hospitals. Most of the injured were treated for injuries ranging from serious burns to smoke inhalation, according to a report in the Victoria (Texas) Advocate.

The fire began around 1:30 p.m. and was extinguished by Formosa's in-house fire department within 10 minutes, Rice said, with an all-clear signal being given shortly after 3 p.m. The fire took place in an ethylene purification unit that is near a unit that makes high density polyethylene resin.

Rice said production has stopped at both the ethylene purification unit and the HDPE unit. No restart dates for those units has been announced. The cause of the fire is under investigation, he added.

"We're still assessing the situation and assessing damage," Rice said. "Our priority right now is tending to the injured."

Ken Mounger, vice president and general manager of the company's polyolefins division, said in a May 3 letter to customers: "It appears that there is no major damage to the production unit. The cause of this incident is under investigation and the restart date for the unit has not been determined.

"At this time there is sufficient product inventory to fill immediate normal and customary orders. The extent of our ability to supply product long term will depend on the results of the investigation and a full assessment of the equipment. Please rest assured that Formosa is working diligently to resume normal safe operations as soon as possible."

Point Comfort is Formosa's largest North American production site, making PE, polypropylene and PVC, as well as ethylene feedstock. It also was the site of an explosion and fire that injured 11 in 2005.

In February 2012, Formosa officials announced a $1.7 billion expansion project for Point Comfort. The expansion will include an olefins cracker with almost 1.8 billion pounds of annual capacity as well as a low density PE plant with almost 700 million pounds of annual capacity and a propane dehydrogenation (PDO) unit with more than 1.3 billion pounds of annual capacity.


Comments

14 workers injured in fire at Formosa Plastics

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 3, 2013 10:40 am ET
Updated: May 6, 2013 11:52 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Prices trending up for some recycled resins

July 24, 2014 1:27 pm ET

Plastics News is correcting prices for recycled grades of several commodity resins on this week's resin pricing chart.    More

Meredian merging with Danimer Scientific

July 24, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. is merging with its sister firm, Danimer Scientific LLC.    More

Image

US Bioplastics receives funding to bring Gatoresin to the market

July 24, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Materials maker U.S. Bioplastics is hoping its Gatoresin product will take a bite out of the bioplastics market, thanks to funding from a state...    More

Image

BASF posts growth in second quarter

July 24, 2014 11:08 am ET

German chemical giant, BASF SE, has announced a 1 percent growth in sales for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in...    More

Image

Bayer PC used for lightweight, durable luggage collection

July 24, 2014 10:52 am ET

Bayer MaterialScience has partnered with U.S.-based travel goods manufacturer Andiamo Luggage LLC to create a special plastic for suitcases that is sc...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events