Power failure prompts report of explosion at chemical plant

Officials: Plant's backup systems caused flames, bangs

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - A power outage at a chemical plant in southeast Houston early Thursday morning is what prompted residents to report an explosion at the plant, according to officials.

The incident happened about 12:30 a.m. at the Lyondell-Basell plant at the intersection of Lawndale Street and Allen Genoa Road.

According to Houston firefighters, they received reports of an explosion at the plant.

An investigation revealed that a power failure kicked on emergency safety equipment, firefighters said. That equipment releases trapped gas, which is burned off through several smokestacks at the plant. The burn off creates large flames and smoke that can be seen for miles. They said the backup systems also created banging sounds when they were activated, which is what they believe residents reported as explosions.

Power was restored within two hours, officials said.

No injuries were reported.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2