CROSBY, Texas (FOX 26) - A transfer line at KMCO in Crosby ignited in the area of a tank with isobutylene and the tank caught fire, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says. The fire resulted in injuries and one fatality and sent black smoke into the air.
A shelter in place was ordered for all residents living within a 1-mile radius of the plant.
The EPA is at the site to monitor air quality. Officials say there have been no actionable detections.
What is Isobutylene?
Isobutylene is a colorless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor. For transportation it may be stenched. It is shipped as a liquefied gas under its own vapor pressure.
It is easily ignited. Its vapors are heavier than air and a flame can flash back to the source of leak very easily. The leak can either be a liquid or vapor leak. It can asphyxiate by the displacement of air.
Under prolonged exposure to fire or heat the containers may rupture violently and rocket. It is used in the production of isooctane, a high octane aviation gasoline.
Fire Hazard of Isobutylene
Isobutylene is highly flammable. Containers of isobutylene may explode in fire. Vapor is heavier than air and may travel a long distance to a source of ignition and flash back.
Health Hazards of Isobutylene
Inhalation can cause dizzieness, drowsiness, and uncousiousness at moderate concentrations. Contact with eyes or skin can cause irritation. The liquid can cause frostbite.