Valve Possible Cause of TX Gas Plant Blast

Thursday, January 22, 2015 @ 06:01 PM gHale

A malfunctioning valve could be one possible cause of a massive blaze that broke out at the Southcross Energy natural gas plant Tuesday in Gregory, TX.

San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody said emergency crews got the call to the 5500 block of Farm-to-Market Road 136 about 6 p.m. for an explosion at the plant, which processes natural gas.

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Fire crews from Ingleside, Gregory, Aransas Pass and Taft assisted.

Carol Scott, spokeswoman for Dallas-based Southcross Energy said there were no injuries reported in the blast, which shot out multiple fireballs. The Gregory, TX, facility is about 13 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.

William Zagorski Sr., San Patricio County Emergency Management coordinator, said they were able to shut off all pipelines funneling gas to the plant after the explosion and the fire burned out on its own, which took about two hours.

The Texas Department of Transportation shut down State Highway 35 between Aransas Pass and Gregory and northbound traffic ended up redirected.

Officials are continuing to investigate the cause of the blast.

“It’s part of a safety process to allow emergency crews to work the scene,” said Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Rickey Dailey. Beyond the Ingleside exit, a large industrial flare was visible and a lingering natural gas smell surrounded the parameter.

Moody said the cause of the fire may have been a valve malfunction but Southcross officials said no details will come out until they conduct an investigation.

Southcross provides natural gas gathering, processing, treating, compression and transportation services in South Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

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