Search for Worker Continues after TX Chem Blast

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:03 AM gHale

Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, TX, after an explosion jolted the facility. Officials are still looking for one worker caught in the blast.

Five days after an explosion rocked the Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, TX, there is still an active search for a worker still missing after the blast.

HazMat crews in protective suits are sifting through the rubble, searching for any sign of Dylan Mitchell, 27, the missing worker after the March 15 blast.

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Crews are deconstructing portions of the building as they search to make sure it doesn’t collapse on them, said Hood County Fire Marshal Ray Wilson.

“With the winds we’re having today, parts of the building that are still up could shift and cause us a problem. So we’re watching that also,” said Wilson.

Mitchell hasn’t been seen since the plant exploded March 15.

Investigators believe a worker dragging his foot along the floor while chemicals were being mixed sparked the explosion. That worker was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with burn injuries.

Jessica Gregg told television station KXAS the man taken to Parkland was 27-year-old Jason Speegle, her son-in-law. Catherine Bradley, a spokeswoman at Parkland, said Speegle was in serious condition.

Another worker was treated for less severe injuries and released from a hospital in Granbury on Friday.

In terms of searching for Mitchell, Wilson said, “we have a general area of where to look, where the individual was last seen inside the building,” Wilson said.

Officials believe he was working in the middle of the facility.

“If he was still able to be ambulatory and move around, then he could have run from that area he was last seen. There were multiple explosions in that room, or in that building… those explosions could have moved him from one area to another also,” Wilson said.

There are still some fire spots, but officials are letting them burn out on their own. There is still no firm cause of the explosion.

Hood County records showed in 2017 the company had chemicals that were toxic and flammable. Hood County said the company had not submitted an emergency management plan with them.

Wilson said the plant contains acids that react to heat, pressure and water, which is why they haven’t yet turned on the fire hose.

Texas Department of Public Safety Staff Sgt. Earl Gillum said experts determined there were no air quality issues Thursday, but the site remains dangerous because of the chemicals still to be cleaned up.



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