2 dead, 42 patients treated after leak at LyondellBasell facility in La Porte

Two people were killed and numerous others were injured following an incident at a plant in La Porte on Tuesday evening, officials say.

According to Lee Woodward, City Secretary and Public Information Officer for the City of La Porte, emergency officials responded to a "mass casualty" incident at the LyondellBasell facility, located at 1515 Miller Cut-Off Road, just after 7:30 p.m.

According to Precinct 8 Constable's Office, two people died and another 42 patients were treated, with injuries ranging from critical to minor.  All personnel were accounted for by LyondellBasell as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

The two men who died in the incident were identified by medical examiners as Dustin Day and Shawn Andrew Kuhleman.

According to LyondellBasell, there was a leak Tuesday evening involving the acetyls unit at the La Porte complex.

"This unit was partially shut down. Planned maintenance was underway when the incident occurred," Stephen Goff, manager of the La Porte site said.

The company's response team was able to isolate and contain the leak, LyondellBasell said.

Company officials say about 100,000 pounds of a mixture that includes acetic acid was released. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the mixture also included catalyst, methyl iodide, and hydrogen iodide.

According to LyondellBasell officials, air monitoring continues to demonstrate no levels of concern for the community.

TCEQ says most of the material was contained and will be treated in the facility's on-site wastewater treatment plant.


"TCEQ resumed efforts on July 28 to ensure necessary actions are taken for the proper clean-up at the site. The agency will conduct a follow-up investigation to evaluate the release and impact," TCEQ said in a statement. 

Overnight, investigators with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office conducted initial interviews and determined there was no explosion or fire associated with the leak.

At 5:17 a.m. Wednesday, LyondellBasell gave the "all clear" for this incident.

Several agencies are involved in the investigation. The Harris County Pct. 8 Constable’s Office is the lead investigative law enforcement agency.

"We're fully cooperating with local investigating agencies including OSHA, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chemical Safety Board as well," Goff said.

There is currently no shelter in place or other protective actions being recommended for the La Porte community at this time, Woodward said.