KMCO Says a Failure in a Piping Component May Have Caused the April 2 Gas Leak and Fire

Still sorting out what caused the leak and plant fire.
Still sorting out what caused the leak and plant fire. Screenshot from Channel 2 News
While an investigation is still continuing, a spokesman on behalf of KMCO released a statement Wednesday saying that the April 2 gas leak and fire at its East Harris County plant that caused the death of one employee and critically injured two others may have been caused by a piping component suddenly failing.

"While the company’s investigation is ongoing, eye-witnesses have described a sudden, acute failure in a piping component that caused a release of Isobutylene, which ignited minutes later. The failure of this component on the morning of April the 2nd caused the release of flammable gases and resulting fire," said the statement released by Michael Kehs, a managing director with Hill + Knowlton Strategies, speaking on behalf of KMCO.

Kehs said that some media reports "that a faulty or leaking Isobutylene valve led to the events on April 2," were not supported by any evidence uncovered so far. Piping components are part of the transportation system to move liquid or gas from one area to another.

The KMCO fire in Crosby occurred only three weeks after the ITC plant fire in Deer Park. As in the first unrelated fire, neighborhood residents were told to shelter in place and schools cancelled outdoor activities.

Wednesday's KMCO statement also thanked the support they have received from the Crosby community. "We continue to mourn the loss of a colleague and recognize that even one injury is too many. Our company and our team continue to stand strong and close in support of our affected employees, families, and community. "
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