'The house shook': Crosby-area residents recall deadly KMCO plant explosion

CROSBY, Texas – Many people within close proximity of a Crosby chemical plant said they ran after they heard an explosion on Tuesday.

Others said they felt their houses rattle or saw the smoke billowing from the KMCO plant on Ramsey Road at Crosby Dayton Road.

They also said they have a different fear.

"Everything was normal, another regular day, and they come over the radio and say, 'Evacuate the area immediately,'" Cody Manuel said.

Manuel said it was a little before 11 a.m. when he and others at the plant rushed out of the facility.

"Get away from it. Just get away, however we could," he said.

Not long after they were rushed out, he saw the explosion.

"It was panic because you don’t know how big the explosion is going to be. You don't know if you will make it home, but that’s part of the game we play," Manuel said.

Around town, people in Crosby heard the explosion and felt it, too. Residents and area schools were ordered to shelter in place as firefighters from all over the county worked to contain the fire.

"When I was in the house, it kind of smelled like tires burning," Diane Kimberlin said.

Even though the fire is out, Tawana Johnson is one of several who said they are concerned about what could be in the air.

Johnson said she quickly closed her windows and turned off the air conditioner while her grandson sheltered in place at a Crosby Independent School District school.

"The house shook. The windows rattled and I just didn’t know what happened. I thought something fell on our house," Johnson said. "When I saw the smoke, I was just thinking, like, 'I hope we don’t inhale anything or anything happens to my kids.'"

Harris County officials and the Environmental Protection Agency are actively monitoring the area for pollution.

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