Fire at DrillChem plant north of Houston, no injuries: police

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 14, 2015 7:19 PM

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Explosions and a fire erupted on Friday at a DrillChem plant in Conroe, Texas, sending up flames and plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles around, but there were no initial reports of injuries, police said.

Residents within a 2-mile radius were ordered to shelter in place as live TV footage showed thick smoke billowing from the chemical warehouse.

"We have not been advised of any injuries," said an official with the police department in Conroe, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Houston.

A dispatcher with the police department confirmed that the fire followed explosions at the plant on Friday afternoon.

The dispatcher later said the fire appeared to be under control. Broadcaster KHOU reported the fire appeared to be under control by evening.

DrillChem provides drilling products including lubricants and sealants, according to its website. A representative of the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The facility was empty at the time of the fire and we are thankful that no injuries have been reported," Brandon Hayes, CEO of DrillChem, said in a statement. "We are working closely with local authorities to determine the cause of the fire and assess the extent of the damage."

(Reporting by Houston Bureau and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Sandra Maler and Nick Macfie)