35 positions eliminated at KMCO plant following deadly chemical fire


CROSBY, Texas – Thirty-five positions were eliminated at a Crosby chemical plant about a month and a half after a deadly explosion and fire.

Before the incident, KMCO had a workforce of 198. The people who were let go were notified Wednesday.

The fire started at the KMCO plant on Ramsey Road at Crosby Dayton Road on April 2 around 11 a.m. and was extinguished around 5 p.m.

James Earl Mangum, nicknamed "Bubba," died in the fire. Mangum, 27, graduated from Sam Houston State University and worked at a chemical plant in Liberty before joining KMCO in Crosby.

KMCO officials said the fire was sparked by isobutylene, a colorless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor, then fueled by ethanol and ethyl acrylate. A transfer line ignited and a tank caught fire, which spread to a nearby building that contains dry chemicals, officials said.

The company released this statement in regard to the layoffs:

“After completing a careful and in-depth evaluation, the company made the difficult decision this week to restructure our workforce to better align with our ongoing business and future growth opportunities. This decision was painful but necessary to achieve our long-term strategic goals. The company is grateful for the contributions made by each of the affected employees and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.”