Port Neches plant explosion: Another burning tower falls, officials say no airborne asbestos found

Insurance adjusters are going door-to-door assessing the damage

Another distillation tower toppled late Saturday as fire continued to burn at the Port Neches, Texas, chemical plant that exploded Wednesday night.

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Area residents have been cleared to return to the area since Friday, and officials said Saturday that they have found no measurable concentration of asbestos in the air. They say the fire continues to be contained, and that the falling tower had no impact outside the TPC Group facility.

Insurance adjusters are assessing the damage at homes Sunday.

The plant, which has been cited for environmental violations in the past, experienced two explosions that forced a mandatory evacuation for 50,000, while sparking fears of asbestos contamination.

Officials noted that some of the equipment that had exploded from the TPC Group chemical plant site contained asbestos insulation, adding that toxicology consulting firm CTEH will be leading lead removal efforts.

From left, Robert and David Pool sweep up the glass filling the floor and tabletops at The Avenue Coffee Shop after the business' front windows shattered following an explosion at the TPC plant Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Port Neches, Texas. (Kim Br

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"Specialists will be assessing homes and yards within approximately one-half mile of the TPC Port Neches Operations fence line," TPC Group said in an update. "Please be aware that the cleanup specialists are required to wear protective clothing to remove debris beyond the fence line. We expect assessments and clean up to begin immediately."

Smoke and fire are visible from the TPC Group Port Neches Operations explosion on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Port Neches, Texas. (Marie D. De Jesus /Houston Chronicle via AP)

Three plant workers were injured in the blasts, including two TPC employees and a contractor, who have since been treated and released from hospitals in Port Arthur and Houston, said Troy Monk, TPC's director of health, safety and security.

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A boarded-up window bears a message for TPC Group as residents and business owners throughout Port Neches, Texas, clean up from the damage caused by an explosion Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)

Around 30 employees were present at the plant at the time of the explosion, with all workers accounted for, according to TPC.

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