Lawsuit: KMCO officials aware of valve leak before chemical plant explosion

April 8, 2019

Three contractors working at the KMCO plant in Crosby when it erupted into flames filed suit Monday against the chemical storage facility, saying officials knew about a leak before the blaze.

The workers — Aurelio Campos, Jose Flores and Noe Flores — were injured in the April 2 fire, which killed one worker and injured several others, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit does not describe the extend of their injuries.

The lawsuit says KMCO officials were aware of a leak in a “check valve” on a high-pressure line containing isobutylene. The leak allowed the flammable gas to escape and set off the fire.

“On information and belief, before the explosion it became apparent to personnel at the plant that a leak was occurring at or near the check valve,” according to the lawsuit. “Despite this knowledge, KMCO personnel did not immediately order an evacuation or sound the general alarm.”

The suit also accuses KMCO of allowing “too much pressure to be channeled into pipes and vessels at its facility in Crosby, Texas.”

The suit was filed in state court in Harris County. Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.