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May 1, 2002

Chemical Safety Board Launches New Investigation


On Wednesday, May 1, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board initiated a new investigation into a chemical plant fire at Third Coast Packaging Company in Friendswood, Texas, near Houston. Friendswood is a rural area about 20 miles southeast of Houston. Third Coast Packaging manufactures automotive and industrial lubricants and packaging. According to initial reports, the fire stated about 1 AM, Wednesday, in a storage warehouse. Two warehouses have apparently been destroyed and at least 15 storage tanks were fully engulfed in flames.

The fire generated a cloud of thick, black smoke which required the evacuation of about 100 people in a one-mile radius of the plant.

The Board has sent a team of investigators to the site, including Board member Irv Rosenthal to begin the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Board is continuing its investigation into the explosion and fire at the Kaltech Company facility in the Chelsea section of New York City. The Board has analyzed the scene of the accident and will request shortly documents from the company needed to help determine the root and contributing causes of the incident which occurred on April 25, 2002, that injured a dozen people and hospitalized two workers in critical condition.




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