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KMCO: Company 'is not responsible for any historic incidents or violations'

CROSBY, Texas – An explosion at the KMCO facility rocked the Crosby area Tuesday morning.

Thick, black smoke poured from the chemical processing operations facility at 16503 Ramsey Road.

Channel 2 Investigates found a series of OSHA fines tied to KMCO LLC, both before and after an ownership change in 2012.

Here's what we know about the company:

According to its website, KMCO LLC "delivers superior chemical manufacturing and toll processing services to many of the world's largest chemical companies."

KMCO is owned by private equity firm ORG Chemical Holdings and has facilities in Crosby and Port Arthur (KMTEX). 

John C. Foley is president and CEO of KMCO.

The Crosby facility has "batch and continuous distillation and multiple reaction capabilities producing over 900 million pounds per year of toll manufacturing products.

According to its website, the company produces the following: glycol products, antifreeze products, brake fluid products, oilfield products and cement grinding products.

The Crosby facility, with more than 180 full-time employees, has over 600 tanks, 250 rail storage spots and 28 reactors on site.

PHOTOS: Tuesday's explosion in Crosby

KPRC2 covered a chemical explosion at the same facility on Christmas Eve 2010. Three workers were injured. Two of them suffered burns on their faces and necks. 

Since 2010, KMCO has settled safety violations by agreeing to pay $247,932 in fines, according to records obtained by Channel 2.

A 2011 inspection, following a 2010 fire at the facility, found 39 serious violations in the areas of: Emergency Action Plans, fire extinguishers and safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.

That inspection/investigation yielded fines of $132,680. 

READ: Inspection Detail

In 2016, KMCO and KMTEX paid $3.5 million in fines as part of a plea agreement after the companies were accused of "failing to monitor leaks of ground-level ozone (smog) producing air pollutants at their chemical processing facility in Crosby, Texas, from 2008 until 2012."

According to the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, here is a list of recent air quality complaints at KMCO Crosby plant:

Complaint Received     Status     Status Date
01/30/2019     REFERRED     03/11/2019
12/29/2018     REFERRED     01/11/2019
07/17/2018     REFERRED     07/17/2018
08/10/2017     CLOSED             11/22/2017
04/23/2012     CLOSED         05/18/2012
09/20/2007     CLOSED         09/28/2007
08/21/2007     CLOSED         09/18/2007
07/02/2007     CLOSED         07/17/2007
06/01/2007     CLOSED         08/02/2007
05/29/2007     CLOSED         08/02/2007
05/23/2007     CLOSED         08/02/2007
01/16/2007     REFERRED     05/23/2007
03/31/2006     REFERRED     04/05/2006 

KMCO issued a statement addressing the violations, saying: 

KMCO, LLC acquired the Crosby facility in 2012. Therefore, KMCO, LLC did not own or operate the Crosby facility and is not responsible for any historic incidents or violations that occurred prior to 2012. After the acquisition, KMCO, LLC‘s new owners and new management team dramatically accelerated the process of transforming the company by investing tens of millions in new capital and re-investing ongoing profits in people, processes, policies, and facility upgrades to safeguard our employees and the community, as well as the integrity and sustainability of our business. We will work with authorities to investigate today’s incident thoroughly to prevent it from ever happening again. And with the help of our dedicated team, we will continue our mission of transforming KMCO into a next-generation, best-practice operator that meets and even exceeds the expectations of our customers, employees, surrounding communities, regulators and the industry at large.

What questions do you have about the plant fire in #Crosby? Let us know. We'll try to ask officials about your concerns....

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Tuesday, April 2, 2019