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Explosion Rocks Texas Plant; Two Reported Hurt

April 21, 1994

MONT BELVIEU, Texas (AP) _ An explosion and fire rocked a refinery Wednesday night, injuring three people.

The blast occurred about 9 p.m. at Gulf Coast Fractionators, police said. The fire was all but out two hours later.

Mayor Joe Dutton said three people suffered minor injuries, and all eight workers who were in the area at the time of the explosion had been located.

Two people were reported in stable condition at Bay Coast Medical Center in Baytown; the condition of the third person was not immediately known.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known, and it was not clear what materials burned.

Fractionation is the process by which natural gas liquids are broken down into their components, such as methane, ethane, propane and butane.

The process takes place in a fractionator, a column or tower in which the liquids are split into different boiling ranges - fractions - by distillation.

Mont Belvieu is about 30 miles east of Houston.

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