Four workers were killed and one injured in a chemical leak at a DuPont plant near Houston, Texas on Saturday.
A valve began leaking methyl mercaptan, a chemical used to make insecticides and fungicides, around 4am at a plant stationed in La Porte, about 20 miles east of Houston. Officials say the leak was contained by 6am, but the five employees who were in the unit at the time responded to the accident and were exposed to the chemical. The cause was not immediately known.
Methyl mercaptan is also often used to add odor to natural gas, which has no smell, for safety purposes.
According to the Houston Chronicle, among the victims were 39-year-old Robert Tisnado and his 48-year-old brother Gibby Tisnado, who had worked at the plant for six years. USA Today also wrote that the leak killed a supervisor who had been with DuPont for more than 40 years.
The Chronicle continued:
The Associated Press reports:
This is not the first time in recent years that DuPont workers have been killed by overlooked safety hazards in the company’s factories around the country. As NBC News writes:
Plant manager Randall Clements said in a statement, “There are no words to fully express the loss we feel or the concern and sympathy we extend to the families of the employees and their co-workers. We are in close touch with them and providing them every measure of support and assistance at this time.”
He added that DuPont will cooperate with officials investigating the cause of the accident.