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DuPont spokesman explains Tuesday night incident at plant in Orange County
ORANGE - A spokesman for DuPont says it was an emergency shutdown of a unit Tuesday night that shook some homes, caused a loud noise like freight trains, and flaring, but caused no injuries.
Aaron Woods told KFDM News the polyethylene unit at the DuPont Sabine River Works in Orange experienced an emergency shutdown at about 11 p.m. Tuesday. He says ethylene was sent to a venting stack and the rapid decompression of the material created a very loud noise, like several freight trains. He says that's what neighbors heard.
"It's combustible, so there was flaring at the top of the vent stack, but no fire," said Woods. "The safety system is designed so as the unit is shutting down the material is sent to the vent stack and into the air."
People near the plant, in other parts of the Golden Triangle, and as far away as Southwest Louisiana, reported their homes shook as a result of the incident. Woods says DuPont sounded an all-clear at about midnight. There were no injuries.
"We deeply apologize for the disturbance the incident caused our neighbors," said Woods. We recognize it was loud and the flames were bright. We apologize for that. We are currently investigating why the emergency shutdown took place."
He says it's an automated system managed by operators. Woods told us the material is used in various fibers and plastics for a variety of consumer products.