Texas
1:39 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

All Clear In Texas City After Refinery Outages Force Residents Indoors

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The order has been lifted for Texas City residents to "shelter in place" after power outages shut down three refineries and a chemical plant, according to the AP.

     Homeland Security coordinator Bruce Clawson says a "shelter-in-place" order for Texas City was lifted early Tuesday afternoon.
     Residents had been advised twice since Monday night to stay inside after power failures shut down a Dow Chemical plant and three refineries, including a BP unit where a 2005 explosion killed 15 people.
     Officials say there have been no immediate reports of hazardous emissions. It's not yet known what's caused the outages.

The Galveston County Daily News posted this video, which they say shows some of the overnight flaring activity at BP's refinery. 

One of the BP units is the same facility where an explosion in 2005 killed 15 people.  BP was fined $87 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  But despite the tragedy, many in the community have remained loyal to the facility, according to this 2010 report by ProPublica and PBS's Frontline.

Despite the deaths and the chemical releases, most Texas City residents remain loyal to the company. BP has donated millions of dollars to a community center, parks and the local high school, and people here know their town of 44,000 would wither if the refinery was closed. BP is not only the town's biggest employer; it's also its best-paying, offering starting salaries of $62,000.

Texas City, about 200 miles southeast of Austin, is no stranger to industrial accidents. It is home to the largest US industrial disaster in history. In April of 1947, 2,300 pounds of ammonium nitrate exploded on a French ship docked in the town's port. The blast lead to the deaths of almost 600 people.   Here are some dramatic images of that 1947 disaster.

 

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