Chemical leak at Dow plant near Freeport shuts down Highway 332 for several hours

By Anavid Reyes, Gianna Caserta - Reporter

FREEPORT, Texas - Police officers with Oyster Creek and Freeport were stationed at the intersection of Highway 332 and FM 523 until 6:45 p.m. Thursday as a precautionary measure after a chemical leak at a Dow chemical plant.

Trace amounts of hydrocarbons were released from the plant about 4 a.m., according to Dow Chemical Company. The chemical is tygas, which is sold to the rubber industry to make tires. The leak was capped about 9:30 a.m.

Crews monitored the air at the site and in an area around the plant. Those on-site and in the surrounding areas were asked to stay indoors for a few hours as a precaution.

"It is just part of being here -- explosions, gas releases," said resident Michael Kelly. "The chemical plants take precaution for this, it is an undesirable situation but it does happen."

Dow said everyone is accounted for and no injuries have been reported.

The company released a statement early Thursday in regards to the situation: "This morning the Dow Chemical Company site in Freeport TX requested the closure of SH 332 from SH 288B to SH 523 due to a process upset resulting in the release of trace amounts of hydrocarbons. Personnel on site and at a neighboring plant were asked to stay indoors as a precaution. Further actions by the community were not required. Part of the highway has been reopened and good progress is being made on addressing the issue."

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