Large flare at Raven Chemical Plant in Baytown caused by power outage, company says

BAYTOWN, Texas – A large flare at a facility in Baytown Saturday morning sent plumes of smoke billowing from the sky, but the flare did not pose a threat to residents in the community, officials said.

The flare was reported at Raven Chemical Plant just after 5 a.m. Saturday, officials with the Baytown Police Department said.

No one was injured and no evacuations were conducted related to the flare-up, according to officials.

Raven Chemical Plant released this statement related to the incident:

Today at 4:50 a.m. local time, a regional system-wide power outage was experienced at the Raven Butene-1, LLC facility, a midstream processing facility located here. As a result of the power outage, the facility’s emergency system was activated, and the production units were intentionally depressurized by a ground flare that was visible to people in the area and passersby. The Baytown Fire Department and Emergency Response were on site to monitor this standard emergency procedure.

The ground flare lasted for approximately 45 minutes at which time the gas pressurization levels returned to normal. The “all clear” was called at 7:45 a.m. There were no injuries and no property damage caused by this standard emergency procedure, and there were no offsite impacts. Power has been restored and the facility is working to return to regular operations.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a Tweet that she has directed emergency management and pollution control to monitor the area. She also said air quality readings conducted in the surrounding area report normal air quality as of Saturday at 10 a.m.

Saturday morning, the flare could be seen from a distance, video from a KPRC 2 viewer, June Bastida shows.

Baytown homeowner June Bastida said he saw the thick smoke heading home from work and feared the worst.

“My house started shaking,” he said. “I stood up, another shaking. It’s not the ground.”

Bastida said when he went outside to see what was going on he noticed orange and black smoke.

“Being surrounded by plants the main thing is safety for me and my family,” said Bastida.

Fearing it was a chemical explosion, he said he got into his SUV and starting driving to capture video on his cell phone.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.