Voluntary evacuation issued for Texas city in the aftermath of chemical plant explosion

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(Reuters) – A voluntary evacuation was issued on Wednesday for all residents of Port Neches, Texas, due to elevated levels of 1,3-Butadiene, according to a statement provided by a local official.

The order, issued by the City of Port Neches and Jefferson County Judge Branick, followed a shelter-in-place ordered earlier in the wake of a fire at TPC Group’s chemical plant in the city.

Elevated 1,3-Butadiene level had been measured in some portions of the city and could cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, irritated eyes and throat, the statement said. They did not pose a serious health risk, or a flammability or explosion risk, it said.

TPC Group’s Port Neches plant suffered a fire after an explosion on Nov. 27 that injured three workers. 

The 218-acre (88-hectare) plant makes flammable petrochemicals used in tires and gasoline.