Residents of Baytown, Texas, had a rough night after their homes were shaken by a massive blast at an ExxonMobil refinery early on Thursday. The explosion caused a major fire and left at least four people injured.
Locals reported that their houses were "shaking" from the blast and their entire apartments "rumbled" from the incident that occurred in the early hours of Thursday. "Just had [a] big enough boom that [the] house shook & everything inside the house rattled," one person wrote on Twitter.
Photos and videos shared on social media showed large plumes of gray smoke billowing over the ExxonMobil plant located just some 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Houston. The refinery, the second-largest petrochemical facility in the US, was seen engulfed by huge balls of fire illuminating the skies above the buildings.
At least four people were injured in the incident that saw the inferno raging over the plant, police said. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed that all four people had been hospitalized, adding that three of them were rushed to a hospital by an air ambulance.
The sheriff also said that "some type of explosion" had occurred inside the plant, resulting in what the local authorities described as a "major industrial accident." Gonzalez said there was no reason for locals to evacuate, but urged people to avoid the area.
The refinery manager, Rohan Davis, said he could not confirm what exactly caused the blast, but that a "full and thorough investigation" will be carried out.
BREAKING: A fire and explosion has been reported at the Exxon/Mobile plant in #BaytownTX this morning. According to the Harris County Sheriffís Office, there are injuries reported and LifeFlight has responded to the scene.— Kevin Wiles Jr (@kwilesjrnews) December 23, 2021
This story is developing.#7News pic.twitter.com/EEAoOXSHX5
The fire was contained after several hours, with locals confirming it eventually "died down." The ExxonMobil facility houses a chemical plant, an olefins plant, and an oil refinery with a capacity amounting to 560,500 barrels per day, Reuters reported.