On April 17, 2013, a massive explosion at a fertilizer facility in West, Texas killed 15 people, 12 of whom were volunteer firefighters. This tragedy brought the dangers of chemical facilities to the national consciousness. On August 1, 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order, which directed the EPA to issue new rules to prevent future chemical facility disasters. New rules were issued on January 13, 2017 but the Trump administration suspended and overturned them. 

Chemical facility incidents continue to occur and often result in evacuations, shelter-in-place, closure of local businesses, injury to employees, community residents and sometimes death. 

In 2021 the Biden administration will consider whether to issue a comprehensive disaster prevention rule that truly protects workers and communities from an estimated 150 serious incidents that occur each year in the U.S. We periodically update this list based on news reports.

Below, a list of chemical incidents from April 2020 to the present. Click on each headline to learn more. Previous compilations of chemical facility incidents can be found here

This is only a subset of incidents reported by media, industry, or government agencies.

Recent Incidents

  • Explosion, fire, four injuries, ExxonMobil Baytown, Texas

    December 23, 2021
    Four people were injured in what was described by county officials as a “major industrial accident” at the ExxonMobil facility, which contains an oil refinery and an olefins plant. It was reported that the fire was in the olefins unit while the explosion occurred in an area that “processed material with gasoline components”. The 3,400 acre facility is the fourth largest refinery in the US. “The company said its industrial hygiene team was monitoring air quality at the site and fence line, and that "available information shows no adverse impact at this time." No evacuations or shelter in place orders were issued, but the county sheriff’s department urged people to avoid the area. It was later reported that the incident released naphtha, which is a product of gasoline distillation. In 2019, 37 people were injured in a major fire at the facility in the unit that processes propylene.

  • Solvent leak, Devon Energy, Calumet, Oklahoma

    December 21, 2021
    An unidentified solvent was reported to be leaking from a tank owned by Devon Energy. A nearby resident reported the leak stating that a liquid overflowed a retaining wall and leaked out close to a street. Oklahoma News 4 reported: “The fluid was running all the way down about, oh, 300 feet down into [Highway] 66 and was flowing good,” said Scott Beard, a resident who lives nearby.” Beard and other residents expressed concern over the fate of the spill. ““It’s going to kill the grass, and if it kills the grass, it’s going to kill animals and other things,” said Beard, who grows wheat and raises cattle on his property. “Extracting oil and gas from shale formations using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology has become a controversial public issue,” reported the Investor Environmental Health Network in 2018. “Leaks, spills, explosions and community impacts have led to bans and moratoria in multiple regions in the U.S., including New York State, and around the globe, putting the industry's social license to operate at risk. Devon Energy has been a laggard in the oil and gas industry in its disclosure practices.”

  • Fire, Pennway Corp., Croydon, Pennsylvania

    December 21, 2021
    Powder ignited inside an industrial dryer machine that was described as being the size of a room. The fire was put out without any injuries reported. Pennway’s website states that the company is involved in industrial finishing such as powder coating, liquid paint, and chromate conversion.

  • Gas pipeline leak, shelter-in-place, ChevronPhillips Chemical, Port Arthur, Texas

    December 16, 2021
    A leak in a gas pipeline forced students and residents within one-mile to shelter-in-place. Local highways were also closed. Chevron Phillips described the leak as “a small product release from a raw pyrolysis gasoline pipeline undergoing maintenance.” Greater than threshold quantities of regulated flammable mixtures at the plant include methane, hydrogen, ethylene, ethane, propylene, propane, butenes, butanes, 1,3-butadiene, pentenes, and pentanes.

  • Oil Well Fire, Terra Energy Partners, New Castle, Colorado

    December 9, 2021
    A passerby on I-70 reported an oil well fire to authorities. “The fire involved a tank holding condensate, which consists of hydrocarbon liquids produced along with natural gas.” No injuries were reported and the fire was quickly controlled.

  • Fire, Schnitzer Northeast Recycling, Everett, Massachusetts

    December 8, 2021
    Hazmat teams were called in to address a fire in a building used to shred whole cars. The blaze sent a huge gray cloud of smoke over the suburban area near Boston. Although it was reported that “Environmental officials worked under the assumption that the fire involved plastics produced in the shredding process” it was also reported that air samples that were collected showed “no detections of contaminants at any levels of concern." Schnitzer operates over 100 recycling facilities throughout the US and Canada.

  • Chlorine leak injures five, T & T Recycling, Hurst Illinois

    December 6, 2021
    Five people were hospitalized in serious condition when a tank they were cutting for scrap, which they assumed to be empty, exploded and released chlorine gas. The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

  • Chemical fire, leak, relocations, Virgin Scent Incorporated dba ArtNaturals and Day to Day Imports Incorporated warehouse, Carson California

    September 30, 2021 to December 2021 (ongoing)
    A fire on September 30, 2021 at a warehouse storing beauty supplies and wellness products lead to the ongoing leakage of hazardous chemicals into the Dominguez Channel, for months,. The leak caused a nauseating stench that forced thousands of local residents to be relocated. “Following the fire, chemicals from the stored products, including ethanol, passed through the city's sewer system and into the Dominguez Channel, causing elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide to be emitted into the air, the investigation found. At one point, the hydrogen sulfide levels in the local waterway were about 230 times higher than California's nuisance standard,” according to a news report. The warehouse is owned by Liberty Properties Ltd, whose parent company is Prologis. In December 2021, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued notices of violations.

  • Hydrochloric acid cloud, shelter-in-place, MPW Industrial Services cleaning company, Sedalia, Missouri

    December 3, 2021
    A leak of hydrochloric acid from a tank force forced local residents and businesses to shelter in place. According to its website, the company provides “industrial cleaning, water treatment, facility management, environmental management and container management services.”

  • Seven workers overcome by cleaning fumes, Dean Foods, Harvard, Illinois

    December 1, 2021
    Seven workers were transported to a hospital after reporting respiratory distress. It was reported that a worker had mixed cleaning chemicals causing a hazardous situation. Dean Foods processes dairy products, such as milk, cottage cheese and ice cream.

Older Incidents by Month

Explosion/Fire, Cleveland Cliffs Steel Mills, Burnt Harbor, Indiana

November 30, 2021 

A “massive” explosion at a slag pit at a steel mill caused shook local homes and shops. “The local fire crew plus others from nearby jurisdictions, as well as the plant, raced out to the slag pit. It took about two hours to extinguish numerous fires that flared in the 90,000 square foot space. Silica in the slag contacting moisture resulted in a chemical reaction and explosion,” according to a local report.


Fire, The WestRock Paper and Packaging Company cardboard plant, Columbus, Indiana

November 30, 2021 

A fire started in three machines used to collect and chip cardboard. The machines were damaged but no injuries were reported. 


Fusion Worldwide electronics warehouse incident, two injuries, Haverhill, Massachusetts

November 30, 2021 

A container of hazardous cleaning chemicals broke, causing eye and burn injuries. The building was evacuated while the hazardous material was contained. Fusion Worldwide is a global distributor of electronics supplies.

Drinking water contamination and relocations, Naval Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii

November 28, 2021 

Hundreds of military families complained of contaminated water at their residences resulting in the Hawaii Department of Health advising residents and local schools to avoid the tap water. Residents had “found the tap water had an oily sheen and smelled like fuel on Nov. 28.”  The Navy initially denied that there was any fuel t in the water but eventually confirmed the presence of petroleum products. “The military provided resources for families while investigating the claims and testing water, but the Blue Star Families organization is working to help the families relocate via donations and making use of contacts on the ground in Hawaii.” On December 8th, it was reported that “the Navy said it said it would stop operations at fuel storage tanks above a Hawaii aquifer until it had completed an investigation into how petroleum got into the drinking water.” The Navy had reported 920 parts per billion (ppb) of petroleum in the water; the limit is 400 ppb. 


Fire, Repcon Inc. construction services, Corpus Christi, Texas

November 27, 2021 

A fire at the plant, which was vacant at the time, caused damage to a building and maintenance shop before it was extinguished. The cause of the blaze was under investigation. A transformer was seen giving off sparks shortly before the fire was reported. According to its website, Repcon provides “maintenance and construction services to the refining, chemical, and petrochemical industries.”


Ammonia leak, Desert Gold Food Company, Las Vegas

November 27, 2021 

Several streets around the facility in downtown Las Vegas were shut down while a hazmat crew spent three hours containing an ammonia leak. The plant was closed at the time of the incident.


Fire, North Augusta’s Material Recovery Facility, North Augusta, South Carolina

November 25, 2021 

A fire at the facility burned for more than 24 hours before being contained.  As a result of the fire, materials picked up for recycling are instead being diverted to the Three Rivers Landfill for disposal. "In the interim, we don't have another alternative, so we will be commingling recyclables with garbage for disposal with the Three Rivers Landfill," said Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh. 


Explosion and Fire, Toledo Refinery, Oregon, Ohio

November 23, 2021 

An explosion followed by a large fire at the refinery forced officials to close local roads although no evacuations were issued. Residents reported hearing a large explosion which was followed by a fire at the gasoline processing unit. There were no reported injuries. 


Two injuries, ammonia leak, Paulo thermal processing plant, St. Louis, Missouri

November 23, 2021 

Two firefighters and another individual were burned by ammonia vapors from a leaking valve that they were attempting to shut down. The individuals sustained minor injuries and local businesses were evacuated until the ammonia dissipated. Paulo is a heat treating and metal finishing company. 


Fire, “commercial building”, Houston Texas

November 22, 2021 

A three alarm fire at a Houston warehouse may have involved stored solvents, according to

Assistant Chief Ruy Lozano.  The warehouse is in a residential neighborhood, which was placed in precautionary shelter-in-place. 


Chemical Fire, CHS Agricultural Center, Pocahontas, Illinois

November 21, 2021 

“Sulfur-containing” chemicals being stored in a concrete bin caught fire at a farmer owned cooperative. The incident closed Illinois Route 140 for several hours. The fire was contained to the bin and no injuries were reported. 


Chlorine leak, Winchester Water Plant, Winchester, Tennessee

November 21, 2021 

Hazmat crews contained chlorine that was leaking from a gas cylinder. No injuries were reported and no chlorine was released outside the building.


Chemical release, Zeon Chemical Plant, Louisville, Kentucky

November 19, 2021 

About 10 pounds of 1,3-Butadiene were emitted from a chemical plant during a 3 minute long incident. Hazmat crews were alerted, but local residents were determined not to be in danger. The same facility was responsible for a 2017 release of 701 pounds of 1.3-Butadiene and fined $2,000.. One resident of Rubbertown, Glen James, told reporters, “It’s really scary, because you never ever really know what they’re actually doing around there. “The smell is so bad. As for other things, I am worried about the groundwater.” Zeon manufactures heat-resistant and oil-resistant elastomers for the automotive and other industries.


One fatality, flash fire, Composite Modules, Attleboro, MA

November 15, 2021 

A worker using toluene to clean equipment was severely burned and later died from his injuries. Toluene is highly flammable and volatile, but it is used often in the chemical industry as a cleaning agent for adhesives and paints. 


Drum leak, Newell Rubbermaid, Maryville, Tennessee

November 12, 2021 

A leaking drum at the property caused local evacuations, including that of a nearby High School and Elementary school. The chemical released was not identified. The incident was resolved within a few hours. 


One fatality, “Flash explosion,” X-Fab, North Lubbock, Texas

November 12, 2021 

A “flash explosion” killed a worker at a silicon wafer factory. Details about the cause were not reported. X-Fab manufactures silicon wafers for  automotive, industrial, consumer, medical industries according to its website.


Junkyard Fire, Delaware Valley Recycling, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

November 10, 2021 

A junkyard fire required the work of more than 100 firefighters to get under control. “At least six piles of tires and construction materials — some estimated to be six stories high — caught fire, said Philadelphia Fire Department Capt. Derek Bowmer,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Questions remain on how the fire started, the company involved, and the health impacts associated with the burned materials.”


Fire, Cenovus Refinery, Lima, Ohio

November 4, 2021 

A fire in a unit at the 185,000 barrel a day refinery injured four workers.  Cenovus did not reveal the cause of the fire. “The refinery is in the middle of a multi-unit turnaround, during which Cenovus employed non-union contractors, according to the local building trades union,” Reuters reported.

Fire, abandoned warehouse, Jennings, Missouri

October 28, 2021 

A fire at an abandoned warehouse, which once was a bowling ball factory and also stored chemicals for Kodak, raged for hours. It was reported that the city of Jennings had taken control of the warehouse in 2018 and were aware of chemicals being stored in the building, but never took an inventory.  The chemical blaze caused a local shopping mall to be evacuated, schools to be alerted to keep children indoors and nearby residents to be advised to shelter-in-place.

 Fire, Eastern Metal Recycling, Coeymans, New York

October 27, 2021 

A fire from a scrap heap adjacent to the Hudson River sent “chemical smelling” smoke into the surrounding area drawing criticisms from emergency responders and local citizens. The scrap yard addresses used cars, appliances and other scrap metal and it is believed that a spark from a battery in one of the cars ignited the flames, which were burning for hours. 

Fire, Westlake Compounds, Gallman, Mississippi

October 22, 2021 

A fire at a tower at the plastics compounding forced the plant to be evacuated and nearby roads were closed to traffic. Firefighters from six local units got the blaze contained and under control. The tower was storing mineral oil. 

One fatality, Honeywell Geismar, Carville, Louisiana

October 21, 2021 

“Jason DeRousselle, 51, died at Baton Rouge General Hospital after his exposure on Oct. 21 to hydrofluoric acid at the Honeywell Geismar complex in Carville,” reported the Baton Rouge Advocate.  The Honeywell plant produces fluorochemicals used in plastics and air conditioning.

Toluene diisocyanate exposure, BASF, Geismar, Louisiana

October 21, 2021 

Less than a week after a worker died from exposure to nitrogen gas at BASF in Geismar, another worker was hospitalized after being exposed to toluene diisocyanate (TDI) at the same facility.  TDI is used in polyurethane plastics.

Fire and Chemical Spill, Hiwassee Machine and Fabrication, Dayton, Tennessee

October 20, 2021 

A fire at the facility, which processes chlorine tablets, caused hazmat crews and local hospitals to go on alert. Some local businesses and a nearby rail station were evacuated. 

Noxious fumes, Mountaire Farms, Robeson County, North Carolina

October 19, 2021 

Workers have quit over an odor permeating the poultry plants, which is described as “a sharp, suffocating kind of odor” with one worker saying it felt like it “invaded your brain.” Workers say that the company refuses to identify the chemical involved, which was introduced in the facility about 4 months prior. 

One fatality, BASF, Geismar, Louisiana

October 15, 2021 

“Dexter Armstead, 48, died at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center one day after the suspected nitrogen exposure on Oct. 15 at BASF's Geismar complex off La. 30,” reported the Baton Rouge Advocate.   A second employee who was also exposed to the chemical was released from the hospital after an evaluation.  The Geismar plant produces industrial chemicals including chlorobenzene, ethylene and formaldehyde.

Ammonia leak, Smithfield Food, St. James, Minnesota

October 11, 2021 

Hazmat teams responded to a leak of anhydrous ammonia and some residents voluntarily evacuated their homes. 

Chemical spill, Roller Die and Forming, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia

October 11, 2021

The spill of “an ammonia based chemical” sent one employee to the hospital for chemical exposure.  The facility produces fabricated metal parts.

Chemical explosion, Pentagon Technologies Group, Portland, Oregon

October 8, 2021 

One person was injured after a chemical reaction caused a drum to explode. The incident is under investigation. Pentagon Technologies Group provides clean room supplies used in the manufacturing of semiconductor equipment. 

Oil spill, Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery, Texas City, Texas

October 6, 2021 

A pump seal failed causing an unreported amount of oil to leak. The leak was contained at the facility. Air monitoring was deployed for the area. Although the company did not disclose the amount of oil that had leaked, video from a SkyEye reportedly “showed a large amount of fluid spewing from a large tank at the site.”

Cyclohexane Inhalation incident, Ascend Performance Materials, Cantonment, Florida

October 5, 2021 

Two employees were transported to the hospital after accidentally inhaling cyclohexane. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), inhalation of cyclohexane can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation, drowsiness, narcosis and coma. 

Hazardous liquid leak, Old Dominion Freight, Central Point, Oregon

October 4, 2021 

Hazmat teams were called in and the building was evacuated after employees witnessed an unknown liquid leaking from one of the company’s freight trucks. “Inside the trucks, there is a bunch of different chemicals in there, and until we can identify what it is, we have to be really cautious about how we approach it,” Jason John, a battalion chief with the local fire department was reported saying. 

Antifreeze leak, Taconic Biosciences, Catskill, New York

October 1, 20218 

The building was evacuated after reports of a chemical odor in the building which left several employees feeling ill. Firefighters traced the odor to antifreeze leaking from a boiler. The building was ventilated and reopened.

One fatality, JBS Foods, Greeley, Colorado

September 29, 2021

JBS, the world’s world's largest meat supplier, was facing fines of $59,000 for a March 2021 incident in which a worker who was trying to install equipment fell to his death into a vat of chemicals used to process animal hides. OSHA determined that JBS and its affiliate Swift Beef were responsible for eight safety violations including failure to secure equipment. According to the Greely Tribute: “JBS last month was cited several times and fined $175,000 in relation to incidents where a worker’s arm had to be amputated, a second who was lacerated while removing hides and a third exposed to a thermal burn hazard.”


Chemical leak, Shearer’s Foods, Hermiston, Oregon

September 27, 2021 

Three employees were hospitalized after a chemical leak at the food processing facility. The chemical’s identity was not reported.


Wastewater discharge, Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, Essex, Maryland

September 27, 2021 

A 5,000 gallon tank sprung a leak spilling 2,500 gallons of sodium bisulfite into a holding tank at the site. Some employees were evacuated or quarantined before hazmat crews got the leak under control. Sodium bisulfite is used to remove chlorine from wastewater. Exposure can cause irritations to skin, eyes and lungs. 


Discharge, US Steel Midwest Plant, Indiana 

September 27, 2021

A “rusty colored” water discharge from a steel plant caused beaches at the Indiana Dunes National Park to be closed. The plant was also closed as a precaution. "An investigation is underway to determine the nature and extent of the discharge," a company spokesman told reporters. The latest incident comes weeks after the company agreed to pay $1 million for a 300 pound leak of hexavalent chromium into a local waterway. “Since then, the plant has had at least seven other water violations.’


Six Injured in Explosion, Westlake Chemical, Sulphur, Louisiana

September 28, 2021

An explosion, which occurred during maintenance of a petrochemical cracker near Lake Charles.  Six contract workers were injured. The unit of plant where the explosion occurred produces ethylene for the plastics industry. Cause of the incident was under investigation.


Anhydrous ammonia leak, Arkansas Gravel Company, Hampton, Arkansas

September 25, 2021

Digging equipment ruptured a pipeline containing ammonia and caused the evacuation of 180 residents who live downwind of the quarry. 


Fire, Vantage Chemicals, Gurnee, Illinois

September 19, 2021

One employee was injured trying to extinguish the fire which reportedly started in the exhaust stacks of an oil boiler.. Vantage’s Gurnee plant produces silicone release & wetting agents, surfactants, emulsifiers, lubricants, rust inhibitors & organic fermentation defoamers.  It uses the carcinogen, ethylene oxide, in this production and was subject of a 2021 investigation by The Intercept’s Sharon Lerner.


Hydrochloric acid leak, Venator Mineral Research, Freeport, Texas

September 16, 2021

A leak of hydrochloric acid in a pigment processing plant’s rail yard resulted in a shelter in place for residents in parts of Freeport and all of Quintana. "’We were alerted that a rail car at the Mineral Research facility had some type of spill, some type of acid,’ Freeport Mayor Brooks Bass said. "It was a spill, and in our mind, it was significant.” The cause of the leak is under investigation. Venator spun off from Huntsman Corporation in 2020.


Two fatalities, Fayetteville Valley Proteins, Fayetteville, North Carolina

September 13, 2021

An animal waste processing plant was evacuated and hazmat teams were called in after two employees were found unresponsive. The two later died. Valley Proteins “provides services for the collection, rendering and recycling of animal processing and supermarket waste streams (fat and bone trimmings; meat/poultry waste) and restaurant used cooking oil,” according to a local report. The company had been under investigations for potential OSHA violations. The state labor department is investigating the latest incident. 


Fire, JBS USA meat packing plant, Grand Island, Nebraska

September 13, 2021

A five-alarm fire at the rendering unit of the beef production company raged for more than 12 hours before being extinguished. The meat packing plant has the capacity to render 1.2 million head of cattle per year. It was the site of a Covid-19 outbreak - 237 people fell ill - in April 2020.


Ammonia leak, Tyson Foods, Goodlettsville, Tennessee

September 5, 2021

A “large ammonia leak” led to a shelter-in-place advisory for residents near the plant while officials evacuated the building. A nearby RV Resort Campground also was evacuated.  and portions of Interstate 65, Highway 41 and the CSX rail yard next to the plant were shut down. 

This poultry plant was the site of a Covid-19 outbreak - 345 people fell ill - in May 2020.


Ammonia leak, Solario and Sons, Bakersfield, California

September 3, 2021

A fire at the cold storage facility resulted in a chemical leak that forced the evacuation of about 15 local residents, most of whom were children.


Molten Steel Spill, Steel of West Virginia, Huntington, West Virginia 

September 1, 2021

A fire at the facility caused several buildings to be compromised. “Hot molten steel had somehow gotten out of the container” injuring one employee, according to the Huntington Herald Dispatch. Firefighters were called in to cool the area so the “steel was no longer a threat”. The cause of the fire was not reported.

Unknown chemical combination causes shelter-in-place order, IDC Warehouse, Pasadena, Texas

August 31, 2021

Workers at nearby industrial sites were ordered to shelter-in-place after a chemical incident at a warehouse.  According to news reports an oil based cleaner was accidentally mixed with some unknown chemicals at the warehouse causing a reaction. According to the import/export database Datamyne, IDC Pasadena accepts imports from chemical companies such as Albemarle Catalysts, Gadiv Petrochemical, and SI Group Fine Petrochemicals.

Chemical fire, DeWitt Products Co., Detroit, Michigan 

August 30, 2021

DeWitt “makes material that waterproofs roofs and driveways. Chemicals used in that process provided fuel for the flames, officials with the Detroit Fire Department said,” according to a local report. The blaze burned the building down. 


Petrochemical releases related to Hurricane Ida, southeast Louisiana

August 29 to September 12, 2021

At least six petrochemical facilities in southeast Louisiana reported chemical incidents during and after Hurricane Ida.  The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center lists reports from: CF Industries, Donaldsonville;  Cornerstone Chemical, Waggaman; ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge; Mosaic Fertilizer, St. James; Shell, Norco; and, Shintech, Plaquemine. Shell’s releases continued at least through September 12, 2021. Further details are available in a Coming Clean special report, Unprepared for Disaster: Chemical Hazards in the Wake of Hurricane Ida.  

Gasoline spill, Ford Motor Company, Flat Rock, Michigan

August 25 to September 23, 2021

“The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says between 1,000 and 3,000 gallons of unleaded fuel from the Ford plant entered the city sewer this week, creating hazardous vapors that resulted in evacuation of 10 homes and a school, the River Heights Academy.” The hazardous vapors were reported to contain high levels of benzene.  As of September 6, 2021: "Authorities said it could take weeks for response teams to determine how widespread the exposure is and when it will be safe for residents to return home." Ford has started "a million dollar reimbursement fund for evacuated and displaced families." On September 7, Flat Rock announced it was cancelling its Riverfest, which was to be held September 10-11 because of the incident. Ford eventually decided to stop production at its Mustang plant, the site of the fuel leak. After three weeks, residents were cleared to return to their homes.

Hydrochloric Acid leak, Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition, Eddyville, Iowa

Aug. 25, 2021

Residents were asked to shelter in place and local schools experienced 2-hour delayed openings after 8,520 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a storage tank. The leak was directed to a containment area and pumped out. The facility makes feed grain for farm animals. 


Chemical leak, Produce Connection Warehouse, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Aug. 23, 2021

Three workers were taken to the hospital and a food warehouse was evacuated after a cleaning solution leaked from a machine used to clean organic fruits and vegetables. 


Fire, Washington Cold Storage Puyallup Washington

Aug. 22, 2021

Residents were evacuated within a mile of the facility after it was revealed that the cold storage plant contained 1,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. Reverse 911 calls were aided by police and residents going door to door to alert people. However, residents were concerned about the lack of a uniform alert system


Ammonia leak, Performance Foodservice Henrico, Virginia

August 19, 2021

A foodservice company was evacuated for four hours while hazmat teams ventilated ammonia from the building. 

“Unknown Acid” spill, Tradebe Recycling, Meriden, Connecticut

August 16, 2021

Several drums leaked what was believed to be a combination of hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and chromium, leading to the closure of local roads and the suggestion to shelter-in-place or evacuate. The leaked acid caused severe damage to the floor of a trailer truck . Sixteen damaged drums had to be removed and “several thousand gallons” of water was reported to be contaminated and needed to be addressed by a pump truck. 

Mercaptan leak, Lubrizol, La Porte, Texas.

August 16, 2021

County officials issued a shelter-in-place warning and suggested use of face masks after a chemical leak at the facility led local residents to complain of headaches, nausea and sore throats.


Fire, Behr Iron & Metal Recycling Center, South Beloit, Wisconsin

August 15, 2021

According to a local report, “Firefighters say a chemical reaction from by-products of the shredding of vehicles the center receives started the fire. Crews used a thousand gallons of water to contain the flames. No damage was reportedly caused to the building.”


Sulphur dioxide release, Chevron Refinery, Richmond, California

August 11, 2021

An unplanned release at the refinery emitted an unknown amount of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere and warranted a warning for the surrounding community. According to KALW Public Media, “In 2012, billowing smoke associated with flares from a refinery fire forced thousands of people to seek medical treatment and led to a protracted legal fight with the city. Three years ago, the City of Richmond agreed to a $5 million settlement in the case.”

One fatality, chemical exposure, Daikin America, Decatur, Alabama

August 10, 2021

Wesley Rusk, a 20-year veteran of the company, died a little more than a month after a chemical exposure at the Decatur facility. Although Daikin did not reveal the chemical involved in the incident or whether other workers were affected, Rusk’s widow reported, “Per the doctors report, based off the chemical sheet Daikin sent to Vandy [Vanderbilt Medical Center], and all the research they have done on those chemicals after looking at his CT scans, they determined it to be sulfur dioxide.” Daikin manufactures fluoropolymer coatings for use in food and textiles. Daikin was also reported to be under an investigation by OSHA for an incident in 2019 in which another employee died after allegedly being exposed to a chemical. 

Chemical reaction, JM Smucker Company, Lexington, Kentucky 

August 9, 2021

Two unnamed chemicals were accidentally mixed at the facility manufacturing the company’s Jif peanut butter causing the plant to be evacuated and local roadways shut down. No injuries were reported. Powder Bulk and Solids has recorded additional incidents over the years. It reports, “in June 2020 that a small blaze broke out in equipment and ductwork in J.M. Smucker’s Jif plant in Lexington. Several other fires have ignited in the facility in recent years. Two peanut roasting machines were damaged in a fire in January 2014. The plant’s sprinkler system doused a blaze that broke out in November 2012. A small silo explosion occurred at the site in early 2007.”

Dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) spill, Texmark, Galena, Texas

August 5, 2021

The company reported that about 100 gallons of DCPD were spilled, some of which entered into the local Panther Creek, but posed no threats to the public. DCPD is a respiratory irritant and is used to manufacture paints and varnishes. It is also used as an “intermediate in insecticides and as a flame retardant in plastics.”


Fire, Oklahoma Tire Recycling, Bristow, Oklahoma

August 1, 2021

Vulnerable people were advised to stay indoors while a fire at the tire recycling facility was allowed to burn itself. "When a tire fire occurs, the tires break down into compounds that are hazardous to human health and the environment, generally including: caustic gases, heavy metals and various hydrocarbons associated with the oil and other chemical feedstock used to produce the tires," said the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.”


Fire, National Salvage and Services Corp., Selma, Alabama

August 1 to 13, 2021

A lightning strike was believed to have set off a “huge” fire at the facility, which recycles railroad ties. “The company yard at Burnsville typically holds “thousands upon thousands” of chemically treated railroad ties that are ground up and used for fuel, primarily in industrial boilers.” The ties contain creosote, as well as other chemical preservatives that are considered health risks. The blaze smoldered for weeks.

Explosion, Valley Milk Products, Strasburg, VA

July 30, 2021

Hazardous materials crews were called in and local streets were blocked after a boiler explosion blew out a wall at the factory, releasing a strong smell of ammonia. 


Hazmat situation, Waste Management Recycling, Sun Valley, CA

July 29, 2021

A hazmat team evacuated 39 employees over concerns of a potential exposure to an unnamed chemical. No further information available as of August 6, 2021. 


Oil well fire, Petro-Hunt oil pad, Bismarck, North Dakota

July 23 - Aug. 7, 2021

Two ruptured wells in an oil pad burned for 16 days before being extinguished. A third oil well in the same pad was extinguished after 12 days. The well pad is owned by Petro-Hunt. The cause of the fire was under investigation.


“Juice Waste” Runoff, Coca-Cola, Northampton, Massachusetts

March to April 2021

A corroded pipeline at the bottling company caused “juice waste” to leak into the Connecticut River for at least 22 days. The composition of the juice waste was not reported. The plant bottles non-carbonated beverages for the company, such as Minute Maid, Powerade, Honest Tea and Vitaminwater. “The liquid flowing from Coca Cola North America was observed to have a yellow color, had a strong sweet, ripe odor and produced a white foam when shaken,” the Northampton Department of Public Work violation notices read. “The area below the outfall was coated with a gray benthic (algae or bacteria) growth which indicates the discharge has been occurring for an extended period of time.”


Fire, Nature’s Best Ag Service, Albany Minnesota

July 22, 2021

A fertilizer distribution center caught fire in the early morning. The building was successfully evacuated and the fire put out, with no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 


Liquid Nitrogen Explosion at Dippin’ Dots, Paducah, Kentucky

July 22, 2021

Ten employees were hospitalized after an explosion of liquid nitrogen. The facility makes the ingredients for Dippin’ Dots. The explosion remains under investigation.


Hydroxyethyl acrylate leak, Dow Chemical, La Porte, Texas

July 21, 2021

The release of the chemical, which is used in coatings and adhesives, forced the evacuation of  businesses, homes and a school within a half mile radius of the facility as well as a shelter-in-place order for outside the evacuated area. Hydroxyethyl acrylate can cause eye and nose irritations. Officials also worried about the threat of a potential explosion


Fire, Premium PPE, Amherst, NY 

July 20, 2021

Multiple fire companies were called in to fight the blaze which broke out at a facility that manufactures masks and other personal protective gear. Concern over industrial chemicals in the building caused a recommendation that local businesses, residences and roadways be evacuated. 


Chemical fire, Olin Epoxy, Roberta, Georgia

July 15, 2021

A shelter-in-place order was issued after a structural fire at the facility spread to a tank of epoxy resin, fueling the fire further and releasing toxic smoke. "An incorrect reaction is taking place in the tank, causing it to heat up, and then we have the release again, and we're waiting for everything to cool back down," said Rick Sharon, an emergency management official.


Fire, Coopers Creek Chemical Corp. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

July 14, 2021 

An early morning fire broke out at the facility, which refines crude coal tar to make asphalt. “Officials said a small fire started in a boiler room, then spread to a large tank holding coal tar or creosote,” according to a local report.


Ammonia leak, Duluth Curling Club, Duluth, Minnesota 

July 13, 2021

A leak of anhydrous ammonia from a curling club’s refrigeration unit forced the closure and evacuation of the club as well as local venues such as the Marcus Duluth Cinemas and Pioneer Hall, in addition to local road closures. 


Anhydrous ammonia leak, Diamond Ice, Southington, Connecticut

July 11, 2021

A shelter-in-place order was put out for the area after residents called 911 complaining about a strong noxious odor coming from an ice factory.  Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to locate the plume and contain it. 


Fire, Summit Lubricants, Batavia, NY

July 10, 2021

According to a news source, “Large barrels spilled and heated up which led to an explosion and fire at the plant.” The building was reported to be empty at the time


Fire, Renosol Corporation, Portsmouth Township, Michigan

July 9, 2021

A large fire at a plastics molding facility released smoke and odors that caused local homes to be evacuated. Renosol molds polyurethane, which when set on fire can release toxic gases. Local residents were told the smoke was not toxic and were allowed to return to their homes. 


Hazardous fumes, Coventa Metals, Morrisville, Pennsylvania

July 7, 2021

Hazmat crews were called in after workers at the recycling facility sprayed a cloud of aluminum dross, a hazardous waste product of aluminum processing, with water causing hazardous fumes. 


1,4 -Dioxane contaminated drinking water, Pittsboro, North Carolina

July 7, 2021

The City of Greensboro’s TZ Osborne Wastewater Treatment Plant released 20 times the EPA recommendations of 1,4-dioxane into a tributary of the Haw River, forcing the city of Pittsboro to shut down water intake. The event, which violated a Special Order by Consent (SOC). The source of the 1,4-dioxane is under investigation.“That Greensboro or whoever’s responsible for it there didn’t notify the general public down here is just appalling,” Sally Bassett, a Pittsboro resident, told the News + Record. “It’s just alarming to me that they’re getting away with this.” In 2019 it had been discovered that Shamrock Environmental, a waste management company, had been dumping excessive amounts of 1,4-Dioxane into the Haw River prompting the implementation of the SOC.  


Ammonia leak, Crystal Geyser Water, East Bakersfield, California

July 6, 2021

An ammonia leak forced evacuation of a water bottling facility and several surrounding apartment buildings. Workers isolated the leak and contained it.  


Ammonia leak, State Heat Treating Company, Wyoming, Michigan

July 6, 2021

An estimated 300 to 500 gallons of vaporized ammonia leaked and prompted a shelter-in-place for local residents. Hazmat crews contained the leak at the facility, which chemically treats metals used by the medical, military and automotive industries.

Fire, Faurecia Interior Systems, Saline, Michigan

June 29, 2021

An electrical transformer on the roof of the plant, which manufactures plastic automotive door panels and dashboards, malfunctioned causing a fire that was contained in an equipment room. Faurecia is one of the world’s largest automotive parts suppliers.

Two fatalities in a gas line explosion, Atmos Energy, Farmersville, TX

June 29, 2021

Two contract workers were killed and two others were hospitalized when a natural gas line exploded. Skylah Spradlin, whose home borders the field where the pipeline exploded said, “I'm just very thankful that it didn't explode my whole neighborhood because that's always been one of my fears."

Fire, Westlake Chemical, Sulphur, Louisiana

June 25, 2021

Lube oil from a compressor caught fire in the company’s Petro 1 Unit, causing the release of heavy black smoke. According to the company there were no injuries and no chemical releases. “This should be in the clear, you are probably gonna see flares; but those people shouldn’t feel alarmed, you see those all the time,” Dick Gremillion, head of Calcasieu Parish’s Emergency Preparedness was reported as saying.

Gas leak, Daylight Petroleum, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

June 24, 2021

Firefighters contained a gas leak following a wellhead failure. Three homes were evacuated and a roadway was closed to traffic.

Fire, CRC Chrome Meridian, Connecticut

June 21, 2021

Two employees of a chrome plating plant were hospitalized with burns after lacquer they had introduced to a heating tank caused a reaction sending the material to overflow the tank and set the roof on fire. “Fire officials said there are numerous chemicals located inside the building. This is why crews are being cautious about the use of water while fighting the fire,” according to a local report.

Explosion, four-alarm fire, Chemtool, Rockton, Illinois

June 14, 2021

A massive explosion and fire at the Chemtool plant, which produces grease and lubricating oils, caused over 1,500 nearby residents to be evacuated.  A firefighter was injured but not seriously. “Officials say it’s possible chemicals like lead, antifreeze, nitrogen and sulfuric acid could be burning in the fire.” People within 3 miles of the explosion were asked to wear masks. The EPA is monitoring air quality. According to ABC7Chicago “Just 25 days before the massive chemical fire, inspectors from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Health and Safety Administration showed up at Chemtool to investigate a complaint.” Details of the complaint were not reported.  Chemtool is a subsidiary of Lubrizol, a specialty chemical manufacturer owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Hydrochloric acid spill, Tsubaki Automotive, Chicopee, Massachusetts

June 11, 2021

A hydrochloric acid spill sent one employee of an automotive equipment manufacturing plant to the hospital.

Chemical fire, PCI Synthesis Newburyport Massachusetts

June 11, 2021

An early morning chemical fire at a pharmaceutical drug manufacturing plant caused heavy smoke to be emitted from the facility. The same facility was the location of explosions and a fire in Feb. 2020. In 2019 the EPA fined PCI Synthesis $200,000 for hazardous waste violations and in 2015 the company was fined by OSHA for “serious violations” involving 23 people. For the most recent incident the city of Newburyport suspended all of the company’s permits, shutting it down until an investigation is conducted. The French pharmaceutical firm Seqens SAS owns PCI Synthesis.

Fire/Hydrochloric acid spill, Dover Chemical, Dover, Ohio

June 11, 2021

An early morning fire at a chemical plant led to a rapid shutdown of the facility. The shut down caused the leakage of hydrochloric acid. Local roadways were closed and a shelter-in-place was issued for nearby residents. As of June 14, no cause was given for the incident. Dover Chemical manufactures alkylphenols, chlorinated paraffins, liquid and solid antioxidants, and other polymer additives.

Acid spill, Senior Aerospace, Burbank, California

June 9, 2021

Employees were forced to flee from the metal fabrication facility after an acid spill was mixed with water. 

Fire, Crestone Peak Resources oil well, Bennett, Colorado

June 5, 2021

A fire at a fracking site closed down portions of local roadways. The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office reported “They’ve taken steps to mitigate the chemicals to reduce the risk to firefighters. They’re about to go in w/foam trucks. Drone video shows 2 pump trucks have burned so far, a 3rd is on fire.” The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission fined Crestone fined $186,544 in 2020 for four infractions. Five contractors were injured in a fire at another Colorado facility operated by the company in 2019. The June 5, 2021 fire raged for six hours and sent a plume of black smoke that could be spotted for miles. 

Evacuation/Shelter-in-place, Wood River, Illinois 

June 3, 2021 

Railcars containing spent sulphuric acid from a Phillips 66 refinery became overpressurized and began venting the chemical in the area of Wood River, Illinois. Over 430 homes and businesses were evacuated.

Refrigerant leak, Longview Waste Control recycling facility, Longview, Washington

May 26, 2021

The waste control building was evacuated and temporarily closed after a leak of an unknown chemical caused eye and other irritations among employees. Employees located the source of the leak and removed it before fire crews arrived. It is suspected that the chemical is some sort of refrigerant.  

Chemical Leak, Allied Universal, Palmetto, Florida

May 26, 2021

A leak of caustic liquid at the plant, which produces water treatment chemicals, sent one worker to the hospital with chemical burns. A second worker, also suffering from burns, drove himself to an urgent care facility.

Fire, Akron Coating and Adhesives Inc., Akron, Ohio

May 24, 2021

Hazmat crews were called in after a fire was reported at the facility, which provides “industrial adhesives and technically challenging and precise compounding, adhesive coating, die cutting, printing, and packaging,” according to the company website. Residential homes were evacuated for a half a block from the facility. Fire Lieutenant Sierjie Lash was reported saying, "We've got it under control, but we have not gone in due to the nature of the chemicals inside." She did not have information on the specific chemicals or quantities involved in the fire.

Fluoride spill, Alabaster Water, Alabaster, Alabama

May 18, 2021

The company reported that approximately 1,500 gallons of fluoride spilled when a tank broke while being fixed for a slow leak. “Alabaster Water reported that no one was injured during the break, and the majority of the fluoride spilled into a secondary containment structure. A very small amount of the chemical sprayed out through a crack in the pipe, but was safely removed,” according to a Shelby County Reporter story.


Fire, Chevron refinery, Richmond, California

May 14, 2021

A fire broke out at the 245,271 barrel a day facility. A spokesperson from the Contra Costa Health Services was reported to have “determined the refinery fire did not approach “action levels” for contaminants of concern, and believed that the “community should not have been adversely impacted” by the incident.


Chemical leak, one hospitalized, Solenis chemical plant, Chicopee, Massachusetts

May 13, 2021

One employee was hospitalized after the spill of an unidentified chemical at the facility, which is a specialty chemical producer and water treatment company. 


Worker overcome by argon gas, Amcor food packaging plant, Saylor Township, Iowa

May 12, 2021

Hazmat crews rescued a worker who was overcome by fumes while in a 10-foot pit at the plant, which produces packaging for the food, personal care and medical industries. While losing consciousness the worker fell off a ladder injuring his head. 


Nitric acid leak, two hospitalized, Linamar, Arden, NC

May 12, 2021

55 gallons of nitric acid were released onto two workers. The workers were hospitalized with chemical burns. Linamar provides power systems for commercial vehicles and industry. 


Nitroethane release, Eco Services, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

May 6, 2021

A pipeline burst releasing nitroethane vapor which was brought under control. A few hours later a second pipe burst resulting in another vapor release of the chemical. Employees were told to shelter-in-place and no injuries were reported. Exposure to nitroethane can cause headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting. It is also an explosion hazard.  The facility operates two sulfuric acid regeneration units that use virgin sulfur, spent sulfuric acid, and other sulfur-bearing materials to make sulfuric acid. The units are also RCRA Part B permitted facilities, allowing the furnaces to be fueled by a mixture of natural gas and hazardous waste derived fuel.


Hydrofluoric acid injures worker, Diamond Chemical, East Rutherford, New Jersey

May 6, 2021

A worker was severely burned when he was splashed with hydrofluoric acid while hooking up a hose line. His injuries included inhalation burns. Diamond Chemical produces industrial and institutional cleaning and sanitizing products. 


Hydrogen fluoride leak, Marathon Oil, Texas City, Texas

May 4, 2021

An undetermined amount of hydrogen fluoride was released from the pipes near the alkylation unit of the oil refinery resulting in the hospitalization of two workers and a shelter-in-place order for local residents and employees. Inhalation of hydrogen fluoride can lead to severe health problems and even death. Both employees were expected to recover. The facility makes fuel and petrochemicals. It uses hydrofluoric acid as a catalyst to produce high-quality gasoline blending components.


Noxious fumes, New Indy Containerboard paper mill, Catawba, South Carolina

May 3, 2021

While under EPA investigation for “a strong, rotten odor affecting thousands of people in the region,” the company requested an allowance to increase its emissions limits by 47 percent. The EPA was reported to have believed hydrogen sulfide to be the source of the odor and is monitoring levels in the region. In April, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) called the New Indy Containerboard paper mill a “significant contributor” to thousands of odor complaints in York and Lancaster county in recent months.

Noxious odor, ZOLL Medical Corp/Bio-Dek Pawtucket, Rhode Island

April 29, 2021

Twenty employees were hospitalized after reports of a noxious odor in the facility, which produces medical parts and electrodes. Employees complained of trouble breathing and irritated eyes, noses and throats. The cause of the odor was not immediately known. According to news website Report Door “Employees of the facility, which was fined in 2018 for violating environmental controls, were instructed not to speak to reporters.”


Fire, Manor Chemical, St. Louis, Missouri

April 29, 2021

A firefighter was injured at a wholesale chemical distributor’s plant and officials evacuated residents within a half-mile radius. It was reported that up to 10 chemicals could have been involved in the fire, but the names of these chemicals were not released. According to the company website, Manor Chemicals stores and sells chemicals for cars, paint, printing, dry cleaning, and industrial manufacturing. 


Hydrochloric acid leak, ChemArt, Lincoln, Rhode Island

April 27, 2021

Workers were evacuated after a pump valve malfunctioned when a tanker was delivering

hydrochloric acid  to the facility. ChemArt produces jewelry, ornaments and other keepsakes. 


Fire, T&R Chemicals, El Paso, Texas

April 26, 2021

Local residents reported hearing an explosion before a fire broke out at the facility,which produces “pine oil, dipentene and other derivatives, pine oil soap formulations, and other products” No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.


Suspected chemical leak, Newburg Egg, Woodbridge, New York

April 26, 2021

A suspected chemical leak at an egg processing plant led to nineteen injuries. Employees reported dizziness and shortness of breath.


Hydrogen Sulfide release, Limetree Bay Refinery, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

April 24, 2021

Several local schools were evacuated while residents complained of headaches and other irritations after an overnight release of hydrogen sulfide exceeding EPA’s limitations caused a strong and troublesome odor throughout the nearby community. Local environmental groups said the prior EPA administration set lenient air pollution standards in a community of color, where 27% of residents live below the poverty line.


Explosion, ADA Carbon Solutions, Coushatta, Louisiana

April 23, 2021

Two workers were burned during an explosion and subsequent fire at the plant, which lasted several hours. However, according to Fire Chief Jeremy Neal he was “prohibited from providing detailed information about what happened because of a confidentiality contract signed by the previous fire chief. The contract, which he said other area fire districts also signed, prevents the fire district from talking about what goes on on ADA Carbon Solutions’ property.” ADA supplies activated carbon.


Fire, Organic Valley Creamery McMinnville, Oregon

April 20, 2021

A three-alarm fire at a creamery forced officials to evacuate residents within a half-mile radius. Authorities were concerned about potential leaks of anhydrous ammonia. 


Fire, Domino Sugar Factory, Baltimore, Maryland

April 20, 2021

A three-alarm fire in the Domino “sugar shed” caused the building to partially collapse. The Domino plant, owned by American Sugar Refining Inc., was the site of an explosion in 2007. That incident was believed to be caused by a buildup of sugar dust. No serious injuries were reported in either incident. 


PFAS foam spill, Kalamazoo/Battlecreek International Airport, Kalamazoo, Michigan

April 14, 2021

A spill of an unreported amount of PFAS firefighting foam at the airport caused authorities to improvise a fix to stop the leak by using zip-ties.


Sewage sludge discharge, York City Wastewater Treatment Plant, York, Pennsylvani

April 12, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it would issue a Notice of Violation the facility released an estimated 5,000 gallons of sludge on March 27, 2021. Additionally, it was reported, “On April 3, about one week after the sewage leak, an aged valve on a separate digester leaked a small amount of poisonous gas at the facility.” The gas was identified as hydrogen sulfide. 

Yenkin-Majestic Paint’s OPC Polymer unit explosion, one fatality, nine injuries, Columbus, Ohio

April 8, 2021

One worker was killed and nine others injured after a massive explosion and fire caused the collapse of the company’s olefin polymer unit. Causes of the explosion were under investigation, but the Chemical Safety Board reported that “Materials stored onsite include maleic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, xylene, and mineral spirits.” OCP Polymers makes alkyd coatings for applications such as urethane topcoats.  According to the Columbus Dispatch the OPC Polymers unit “was cited for 26 [OSHA] violations after a six-month investigation. Of the 26 violations, 25 were deemed serious — which is classified as "death or serious harm could result." One worker was electrocuted in an industrial accident in 2011. 


Toxic chemical fire, K-Solv warehouse, Channelview, Texas

April 7, 2021

According to the chemical distribution company, K-Solv, a fire that burned for two hours was caused by the transfer of a mixture of toluene and naphtha into a container. The company reported that forty-one different chemicals burned in the fire, including trichloroethylene.

Radioactive phosphogypsum waste retention pond breach, HRK Holdings, Palmetto, Florida

April 3, 2021

A breach at a former phosphate fertilizer plant retention pond caused the evacuation of over 300 homes in the area and caused concerns about runoff into Tampa Bay. The pond holds 800 million gallons of process water contaminated by radioactive phosphogypsum and other toxic waste.  Fears of an imminent catastrophic failure subsided by mid-April. 

Chemical fire, unnamed company, Goleta, California

April 1, 2021

A mixing of chemicals at an unnamed business caused a fire and leakage of contaminated water. Local businesses were evacuated. The chemicals involved in the incident were not reported. The event occurred at 6325 Lindmar Drive in Goleta. According to Google Maps, this is the home of Microdyn Nadir, a water treatment membrane producer.


Overheated butyl acrylate, BASF, Greenville, Ohio

April 1, 2021

Two containers containing butyl acrylate overheated and released smoke at a BASF automotive coating plant. Local roads were closed for two hours.

Fire, “chemical smoke cloud,” Sartomer Americas, Chatham, Virginia

March 29, 2021

A barrel containing an undisclosed chemical overheated and created a chemical smoke cloud.  Arkema, the parent company of Sartomer, did not name the chemical but described it as “an acrylic building block used in products such as coatings and adhesives. A nearby high school was evacuated. Sartomer Americas is a manufacturer of resins, owned by Arkema.


“Vapor leak,” one fatality, two injuries, 3V Sigma USA, Georgetown, South Carolina

March 27, 2021

A vapor leak  - possibly a “chloride chemical” - killed an employee at a specialized chemicals plant.  At least two other workers were injured. 3V Sigma USA manufactures synthetic polymers, preservatives, and thickeners for the personal care, home care, pulp & paper and textile industries. 


Sulphuric acid spill, Locatelli Vineyards, San Miguel, California

March 27, 2021

Sulphuric acid from a punctured chemical storage tank at a vineyard forced the closure of a local road. The toxic chemical was reported to have been leached into the soil and released into a storm drain that leads to the Salinas River


Chlorine leak, Newburgh, New York

March 27, 2021

A leak of chlorine, possibly from a commercial chlorine tank, forced the evacuations of the Cornerstone Family Health Center and the Mullen’s apartment complex. 


Explosion and fire, Rason Asphalt, Melville, New York

March 24, 2021

A tank holding liquid asphalt exploded, and firefighters were called in to battle a blaze that blanketed the area with thick clouds of smoke. 


Chlorine Leak, Opelousas City Sewer, Opelousas, Louisiana

March 18, 2021

Several nearby residents were evacuated after a chlorine leak was discovered in the city’s wastewater treatment plant. 


Fire, Thunderbolt Racing Fuel, Cornelius, Oregon

March 16, 2021

A fire and explosions at a racing fuel plant forced the evacuation of local residents. 


Contaminated drinking water, San Angelo, Texas

March 16, 2021

Officials in San Angelo issued a “do not use” order after high levels of benzene, naphthalene and acetone were found in the city’s water. The source of the contamination was unknown. 


Hydrochloric Acid leak, Ohio Aluminum Chemical LLC, West Chester, Ohio

March 15, 2021

Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order for a half-mile radius from the plant after a pipe burst. Most of the chemical remained in the building however some did spill into a nearby creek. 


Fire, Cahaba Pallets, Centreville, AL

March 9, 2021

Fire completely destroyed a pallet plant.  A fire department drone detected chemicals stored near the fire and residents living in a half-mile radius were evacuated.


Toxic Fumes, Alliance Roofing Company, Sacramento, CA

Mar. 2, 2021

Several firefighters who responding to reports of odors coming from a roofing company suffered respiratory injuries. They were exposed to fumes, believed to be solvents, leaking from an unmarked barrel.  A one-block radius of the business was evacuated.

Refinery fire, Delek Refinery, El Dorado, Arkansas

Feb. 27, 2021

A fire at a refinery injured six people. The Delek Refinery refines up to 80,000 barrels per day of  crude into gasoline, diesel, asphalt and LPG.


Fire, Advanced Foam Recycling Center, Dallas, Texas

Feb 25, 2021

A spark is believed to have caused a massive fire that injured three workers, burned for over a day, and destroyed a polyurethane foam recycling facility in Dallas. Advanced Foam Recycling says it is “the largest scrap foam supplier to the carpet cushion industry.” Polyurethane foam scrap often contains halogenated flame retardants and blowing agents.


Ammonia release, Eastman Chemical, St. Gabriel, Louisiana

Feb. 22, 2021

Ammonia was released from the Eastman Chemical plant. It was unclear what caused the release of ammonia, which reportedly lasted for about 10 minutes, from the facility. Three employees of a nearby business were exposed. According to Eastman’s Risk Management Plan, the chemical plant stores up to 187,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.  “Anhydrous ammonia, and alcohols are reacted to produce amine products, such as ethylamines and isopropylamines.”


Three million pounds of toxic chemical releases, 194 facilities, attributed to freezing conditions, Texas 

A surge of cold weather in the Deep South led to hundreds of emissions incidents at oil and chemical plants, especially in Texas.   According to data compiled by Catherine Fraser of Environment Texas, 194 facilities reported over three million pounds of toxic chemical releases related to the freezing weather of February 11 to 22, which shut down power and halted natural gas deliveries.  For example: 

  • BASF/Total olefins plant in Port Arthur released 32,883 pounds of 1,3-butadiene, benzene, ethyl benzene, styrene, toluene, and xylene.
  • Olin Blue Cube chlor-alkali / epoxies plant in Freeport released 859 pounds of 1,3-dichloropropane, epichlorohydrin, ethylene, ethylene dichloride, and vinyl chloride.
  • Occidental Chemicals (OxyChem) chlor-alkali plant in Ingleside released 804 pounds of ethylene dichloride, hydrochloric acid, nitrous oxide, and vinyl chloride.
  • Solvay fluorochemicals plant in Orange released 125 pounds of chlorotrifluoroethylene.
  • OxyChem vinyl chloride monomer plant in Deer Park released 27 pounds of chloroform, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride.
  • Guardian Industries insulation plant in Corsicana released 0.22 pounds of lead.

Incident details available at the Texas Council for Environmental Quality Air Emission Event Report Database.


Toxic chemical flaring, Valero Energy Corp refinery, Memphis, Tennessee

Feb. 15, 2021

Flaring by Valero released 501 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 101 pounds of hydrogen sulfide gases, and misted the nearby Nonconnah Creek with oil. The company blamed the flare on cold temperatures. The refinery makes  gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals.


Fire, Stanton Energy Center coal fired power plant, Orlando, Florida

Feb. 13, 2021

A burst of hydraulic fluid from a pipeline ignited and caused a major fire at the 34-year old power station. “This right here might be a major explosion getting ready to happen,” said a plant operator in an urgent 911 call.


Oil Spill, Chevron Long Wharf, Richmond, California

Feb. 10, 2021

Approximately 600 gallons of an unknown petroleum product spilled into the San Francisco Bay after a pipeline at Chevron’s refinery developed a leak. 


Attempted poisoning by hack, Oldsmar Water Treatment Plant, Oldsmar, Florida

Feb 8, 2021

Hackers tried to increase the level of lye in local water supplies from 100 to 11,100 parts per million (pmm). Levels above 10,000 ppm can harm the gastrointestinal tract. The hackers briefly altered the water supplies before alarms were initiated.


Boron trichloride leak, Leepoxy Plastics, Fort Wayne, Indiana 

Feb. 8, 2021

Boron trichloride leaked after a worker disconnected a hose, forming a toxic cloud.  Workers escaped without injury. The company is a custom formulator of epoxies and urethanes. 


Unknown toxic exposure, 29 injuries, Philips North America oral care products, Ontario, California

Feb. 4, 2021

Twenty-nine people were injured and nine were hospitalized with respiratory trouble after being exposed to an unknown contaminant. The facility manufactures oral care products. 


Styrene monomer spill into Ohio River, Dart Polymers polystyrene packaging plant, Owensboro, Kentucky

Feb. 3, 2021

Dart Polymers spilled 900 gallons of styrene monomer from a collection basin. “Approximately 300 gallons left the property and entered the environment, including the Ohio River.”  The company uses the styrene monomer to polystyrene food and beverage packaging. More information here. 


Ammonia Leak, Tyson Foods chicken plant, Noel, Missouri

Feb. 3, 2021

Hazmat and fire crews responded to an ammonia leak at a Tysons Foods chicken processing plant. OSHA cited the same facility in 2007 with 46 serious violations, including failure to provide an special alarm for ammonia releases.

Chemical Leak, Onslow Water and Sewer Authority (ONWASA), Jacksonville, NC

Jan 30, 2021

The local water authority shut down two production wells after PFAS contamination was found nearby, near Camp Davis Marine Corp. Outlying Field.  PFAS have not yet been detected in drinking water or groundwater, but private wells have yet to be tested in the city of Jacksonville.


Fire, Atlantic Fiber Company recycling plant, Passaic, New Jersey

Jan 30, 2021

An 11-alarm fire broke out at a recycling facility. The plant had the capacity to process up to 40,000 tons of single-stream municipal waste per month. The company specializes in recycling corrugated cardboard and other paper products.


Fire, Camden Iron & Metal scrap metal plant, Camden, New Jersey

Jan. 29, 2021

A fire at a scrap metal recycling facility burned for at least eight hours. Residents were evacuated to local shelters.


Liquid Nitrogen Leak, Six Fatalities, Foundation Food Group chicken packaging plant, Gainesville, Georgia

Jan 28, 2021

A liquid nitrogen leak at a chicken plant killed six workers at a chicken  . Foundation Food Group is a joint venture of Prime-Pak Foods and Victory Processing. It operates three poultry processing sites in Gainesville.“The processing plant uses liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze chicken, and the ‘inadvertent release’ happened on one of the plant’s five production lines”, according to Katherine Lemos, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s chairman and CEO.


Hydrochloric Acid Leak, Dover Chemical, Dover, Ohio

Jan. 26, 2021

A leak of hydrochloric acid at the chlorination process building of this industrial chemical company caused a cloud of gas to form around the building. Dover Chemical manufactures fire retardants and surfactants.


Ammonia Spill, Kellogg, San Jose, California 

Jan 22, 2021

Kellogg’s building was evacuated and a shelter-in-place alert was issued to nearby residents after an unknown amount of ammonia was released at the company’s facility on Eggo Way.


Fire, Washington Potato Factory, Warden, Washington

Jan 22, 2021

A fire at the potato factory edged close to an ammonia tank, leading officials to evacuate the surrounding area. “We’re just standing back and waiting to see if that tank does explode,” Kyle Forman, a spokesperson the county sheriff’s office was reported as saying. 


“Dramatic” Chemical Reaction, Gemini Signage, Cannon Falls, Minnesota

Jan. 15, 2021

One person was injured when two unidentified chemicals were accidentally mixed together at a signage manufacturing plant

Fire/Toxic Smoke, Specialty Products Inc, Lakewood, Washington

Jan. 14, 2021

A fire at a polyurethane foam plant released a toxic cloud and forced the evacuation of buildings and homes within a half-mile radius.


Chlorine Leak, Malteurop Malting Co., Great Falls, Montana

Jan. 11, 2021

Hazardous materials (Hazmat) crews were called in to address a chlorine gas leak at a malting facility.

“Chemical Incident”, Daniele Prosciutto Inc, Burrillville, Rhode Island 

Dec. 28, 2020

Workers evacuated a cured meat plant, and 10 people were transported to the hospital with upper respiratory irritation.

Chemical Smell, One Fatality, Fallon Middle School, Dublin, California

Dec. 24, 2020

Two school custodians were found unconscious after families called police when they didn’t return from work. One later died. Police responding to the situation noted a mysterious chemical smell. 

Chemical Mixture, Galloway Co, Neenah, Wisconsin

Dec. 23, 2020

“Fire chief Kevin Kloehn says hazmat crews have been sent to the scene to investigate whether chlorine was erroneously emptied into a tank filled with acid.” Three employees were treated and released. Local residents were evacuated. 

Ammonia Leak, Pepsico, Orange County, Florida

Dec. 15, 2020

Hazmat crews evacuated the building and were investigating the source of the leak. 

Two-alarm industrial fire, Agricultural supply yard, Oxnard, California

Dec. 14, 2020

A fire in an agriculture supply yard set off a series of explosions and caused a building to partially collapse. Local officials, “worried that the fire threatened fertilizer and other chemicals stored at the yard,” ordered residents to shelter-in-place.

Sulfuric Acid Spill, Coca-Cola, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dec. 12, 2020

Coca-Cola plant employees were evacuated after a tank containing sulfuric acid spilled while being offloaded. The spill was contained. 

Ammonia Leak, Consumer Fresh Produce, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dec. 11, 2020

Ammonia leaked from the roof of a cold-storage facility.


Fire, Odjfell Oil Terminal, Seabrook, Texas

Dec. 11, 2020

A hydraulic fuel fire broke at an oil depot; local residents were ordered to shelter-in-place. 

Freon Leak, CF Cold Storage, Haverhill, Massachusetts

Dec. 10, 2020

A Freon leak caused employees to become lightheaded. The cold storage facility was evacuated.

Chemical Odor, Brookline Department of Public Works, Brookline, Massachusetts

Dec. 9, 2020

A chemical odor in the Municipal Service Center caused four employees to be sent to the hospital for evaluation.

Explosion, One Fatality, Optima Belle Chemical Plant, Belle, West Virginia

Dec. 9, 2020

Chemical batch processing equipment exploded and released chlorine, methanol, and metal shrapnel, into the surrounding area. One worker died, three were injured. Officials enforced a 2-mile radius shelter-in place and closed dozens of local schools.

Anhydrous Ammonia Leak, Dole Food Company, Springfield, Ohio

Dec. 9, 2020

One person was injured before fire and hazmat crews contained a leak of ammonia from a salad packing and distribution plant.

Refinery Fire, Magellan Midstream Partners, Corpus Christi, Texas

Dec. 5, 2020

A fire and explosion of an oil tank at the Magellan Storage Facility injured seven people and led to shelter-in-place orders to the local community for two hours. Two workers, who were cleaning the tank, later sued Magellan for allegedly causing life-changing injuries.

Fire, Ameritech Heat Treating Services, LaPorte, Texas

Dec. 5, 2020

A fire involving an unknown chemical at a metal heat treating facility caused authorities to issue a shelter-in place order.

Nitrogen Leak, Two Fatalities, Golden West Food Group, Vernon California

Dec. 1, 2020

A nitrogen leak at the Golden West food processing plant left two people dead.

Fire, Eastman South Coal Gas, Kingsport, Tennessee

Dec. 1, 2020

A “minor incident” led to a “small fire” at the Eastman coal gasification plant. In 2017, an explosion at this plant disrupted operations for weeks.

Hazardous Chemical Spill, Amazon Distribution Center, Eastvale, California

Nov. 28, 2020

Firefighters evacuated 150 employees and several were hospitalized after possible exposure to an unknown hazardous substance. The workers reported to be feeling ill with “undisclosed mild to moderate symptoms.” Earlier in the year, workers complained to state and local authorities “about what they say are dangerous working conditions at the facility that could expose them to the novel coronavirus.”


Chemical Explosion, MGP Ingredients, Atchinson, Kansas 

Nov. 27, 2020 


An investigation is being conducted as to what caused the second explosion at a distillery in four years. In 2016, a truck driver mistakenly unloaded sulfuric acid into a hypochlorite line at the MGP plant, leading to an explosion that hospitalized 100 people and released a cloud of chlorine gas over the city. More info here


Chemical Leak, Ascend Performance Materials, Escambia, Florida

Nov 27, 2020


A power outage led to the release of anhydrous ammonia, nitric oxide, and nitrogen dioxide for over 30 hours. County officials said they were never notified of the leak while it was occurring. Ascend Performance Materials makes adipic acid, BHMT, dimethyl esters, hexamethylene diamine, keytone alcohol, nitric acid and nylon salt, at this plant. More information here


Ammonia Leak, Tyson Prepared Foods, Hutchinson, Kansas

Nov. 21, 2020

A meat packing plant was evacuated after ammonia leaked from a meat packing refrigeration unit. Two workers were transported to the hospital. 


Fuel Tank Explosion, Thomas Plastic Machinery warehouse, Scottsdale, Indiana 

Nov. 19, 2020

A fuel tank exploded and triggered a fire in a plastics machinery warehouse. One worker was hospitalized and the nearby area was evacuated.


Fire, Ohio Metallurgical Service, Elyria, Ohio

Nov. 16, 2020 

A fire at a metal heat treatment facility caused an explosion and blue and pinkish flames.


Ethylene Oxide Leak, Croda, New Castle, Delaware 

Nov. 15, 2020

Delaware Public Media reported that, according to the Department of Natural Resources, the Croda chemical plant “had exceeded its annual emission limit for ethylene oxide at an air pollution scrubber, and that the scrubber had failed to reduce volatile organic compound emissions by at least 95 percent. Croda also routed an unpermitted source into an air pollution scrubber and operated an unpermitted source of ethylene oxide at a part of the plant known as a hotwell, which environmental regulators say condenses vapors from the purification and distillation of crude ethylene glycol.” The latest problems followed a massive leak at the plant in 2018 which caused a shutdown of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. 


According to its Risk Management Plan, Croda stores as much as 1,433,200 pounds of ethylene oxide in rail cars at the Atlas Point site. It uses ethylene oxide in the manufacture of surfactants. 


Chemical Released - One Fatality, Wacker Polysilicon, Charleston, Tennessee

Nov. 13, 2020 

A release of a mixture of steam and hydrochloric acid killed one contract worker and injured several others at a polycrystalline silicon plant.


Fatality, Flash Tank Services, Channelview, Texas

Nov. 12, 2020 

A worker cleaning out a tanker that previously held toluene was found dead. “Authorities say it's not exactly clear how the man died since he was wearing a respirator at the time.” More information here. 


Fire/Explosion, One Fatality, Pureline Treatment Systems, Bensenville, Illinois 

Nov. 12, 2020

At time of reporting it was unclear what caused the explosion at the factory which produces chlorine dioxide generators for water treatment. Firefighters were challenged by a leaking barrel of hydrochloric acid that mixed with water from an overhead sprinkler system and formed a chemical cloud. 


Chemical Leak, Hexion Chemical Plants, Springfield, Oregon 

Nov. 1, 2020 

A formaldehyde leak shut down local streets and caused several people to be transported to the local hospital for evaluations. Hexion is the country’s leading manufacturer of formaldehyde-based resins.

Tank Collapse, INEOS, Lima, Ohio

Oct. 26, 2020 

A storage tank, which was reported not to be in service, collapsed during the night, shaking up local residents who were told they were not in danger. Contents of the tank were said to be proprietary and not revealed. “The plant's primary product, acrylonitrile, is manufactured by combining ammonia, propylene and air,” according to a Risk Management Plan.

Contaminated Groundwater, Velsicol Chemical, St. Louis, Missouri 

Oct. 24, 2020 

A two foot thick slurry containment wall installed in 1982 when the chemical plant was demolished was discovered to be leaking by EPA inspectors. The inspectors found evidence that contaminated groundwater had spread into a neighborhood but said that no contaminants were evident in drinking water. The facility had produced chemicals such as DDT and flame retardants. 

Explosion, New Mexicann Natural Medicine, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Oct. 20, 2020 

An explosion at a cannabis production facility severely burned two workers.The state suspended New Mexicann’s licenses. According to High Times, the facility had a similar explosion in the past. “Back in 2015, that explosion also burned two coworkers. It happened when two workers were extracting THC using cannabis that was soaked with butane and then heated to boil off liquid and create hash. The method is looked down on as unsafe by many in the industry because of the highly flammable nature of butane that is heated during the extraction process. At the time, New Mexicann Natural Medicine was fined $13,500 by OSHA and cited for at least 12 violations, which were considered serious by the state.”

Chemical Spill, ND Paper, Old Town, Maine 

Oct. 7, 2020

More than 30,000 gallons of pulping chemicals were spilled into the Penobscot River after a sewer line ruptured. 

Improper Chemical Storage and Disposal, Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. (KMI), Belding, Michigan 

Oct. 6, 2020

The company is facing a $115,000 fine and has been prevented from using, storing or disposing trichloroisocyanuric acid (TCICA). The chemical, which is used to kill bacteria in swimming pools and hot tubs, had been mishandled in the past at the facility resulting in release of chlorine gas clouds and a dumpster fire. 

Chemical Leak, Boston College chemistry center, Boston, Massachusetts 

Oct. 5, 2020 

A leak of hydrogen-sulphide into an air vent forced the evacuation of the building housing the Merkert Chemistry Center. No injuries were reported. 

Chlorine Leak, Salisbury Paleo Water Treatment Plant, Salisbury, Maryland  

Sept. 25, 2020

A worker discovered a leaking chlorine cylinder at a water treatment plant. Hazmat teams capped off the 150 pound cylinder, and the employee was sent to a hospital for evaluation. 

Foundry Fire, ABC Coke, Huntsville, Alabama

Sept. 24, 2020

Three employees were injured in a flash fire that occurred at ABC Coke, owned by coal company Drummond Company.  This is the largest largest merchant producer of foundry coke in the United States. ABC Coke was fined $775,000 for improper benzene emissions in 2019. Further information here

Chemical Leak from Gunfire, Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC, Ridgeway, New York 

Sept. 22, 2020 

Five people were arrested after bullet holes were found in tanks, and caused agricultural chemical tanks to leak.  The three adults and two juveniles admitted to target shooting in the area.

Chlorine Dioxide Leak, Domtar paper mill, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Sept. 22, 2020

A leak of 2,000 pounds of chlorine dioxide at a paper mill forced employees to be relocated and local traffic to be rerouted. 

Fire, 2 Fatalities, Evergreen Packaging Mill, Canton, North Carolina

Sept. 21, 2022 

A fire, at the 2,000 acre paper mill, was reported to have been started in a “process vessel.” Two contractors who died apparently were there to repair damaged equipment. As of January 20, 2021, a U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigation remains underway.

Chemical Explosion, Arizona State University research laboratory, Tempe, Arizona 

Sept. 16, 2020 

An explosion of chlorine dioxide at a research lab at the University injured 3 people. 

Chemical Fire, Bio Lab, Conyers, Georgia

Sept. 14, 2020

According to a local report, “Plumes of toxic vapor rose out of the warehouse where Trichloroisocyanuric acid was stored. The chemical is in a powdered form and used to treat and clean swimming pools. When water came in contact with the chemical it released a chlorine or bleach smell.” As a result, hazmat crews closed a nearby four-mile stretch of I-20 for several hours. 

Explosion, Averitt Express transport hub, Lawrenceville, Georgia

Sept. 11, 2020 

An explosion and flames were reported at a shipping company’s loading dock where acetylene cylinders were being transported. “It is unknown whether one of the cylinders was ruptured or leaking during offloading,” a fire spokesman said. 

Chemical Leak, Littleton High School, Littleton, Colorado 

Sept. 10, 2020

A leak of chlorine, gas and muriatic acid in the pool room of the school sent one person to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

Fire, CPI Products plastics plant, Williamson County, Texas 

Sept. 10, 2020 

A fire destroyed a rigid plastics factory. Local residents were ordered to shelter in place, close their windows and shut off air conditioners. 

Explosion, FAR Chemical, Palm Bay, Florida 

Sept. 8, 2020 

A series of explosions at FAR Chemical rattled windows and released fireballs resulting in a shutdown of US-1. A Palm Bay spokesperson said the blasts originated from a storage area containing barrels of an isopropyl alcohol-based solution. More information here. Florida Department of Environmental Protection cited FAR Chemical for failing to notify residents within 24 hours of the release of “potentially hazardous materials into the air.”   A site Risk Management Plan lists bromine and trimethylchlorosilane as hazardous chemicals it uses on site to manufacture pharmaceutical intermediates and other chemicals.

Chemical Spill, Department of Homeland Security, Washington D.C.

Sept. 2, 2020 

Hazmat teams responded to a chemical leak involving a spill of sulphuric acid from a leaking battery that was part of an emergency power backup unit. Parts of the DHS building were evacuated and employees were sent home for the day. One person went to a hospital for evaluation.

Chemical Leak, Sabic Plastics, Selkirk, New York 

Sept. 1. 2020 

A styrene leak at a rail station on Sabic’s property in Selkirk, NY caused officials to authorize a shelter in place for residents in a 1 mile radius and evacuations for non-essential personnel in a ½ mile radius. The rail car was reported to have contained 180,000 pounds of styrene, according to Sabic executive Scott Danzey. Later reports revealed the railcar had been sitting in the railyard for 3 months.

Hurricane Laura incidents 

August 27, 2020

“According to a WWNO/WRKF analysis of publicly-available reports and emails from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), while the majority of facilities emerged unscathed from the Category 4 hurricane, nine out of the 138 facilities that were inspected suffered critical damage.”

Plains All American reported a leak of an unknown amount of crude oil from a 40,000 barrel storage tank. EPA said it received 31 reports of oil and chemical spills in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

Critical damage was reported at the Lotte Chemical plant in Lake Charles and Equistar Chemicals facility in Westlake. The Chemical Waste Management facility in Lake Charles, according to WWNO/WRKF, reported “severe” damage, including the potential “total loss” of a transfer facility.  

The most significant incident occurred at the BioLab chemical plant in Lake Charles (below).A massive fire consumed this swimming pool chemical plant after being damaged by Hurricane Laura. The fire burned for two days and shut down Interstate 10. EPA found chlorine above detection limits in nine neighborhood locations.  BioLab reportedly stores 835 tons of the chemical trichloroisocyanuric acid. A U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigation is ongoing, as of January 20, 2021. 

In addition, according to New Orleans Public Radio, “The EPA is investigating potential damage at two Superfund sites in Louisiana — possible leaching of creosote-laden soil at American Creosote in DeRidder, and another incident at Marion Pressure Treating in Marion.” 

Reform Austin reported that the pollution began before the Category 4 hurricane struck the Gulf Coast. “ “With Hurricane Laura threatening the Gulf Coast region, the oil refineries and petrochemical plants that stretch across the Houston area and Southeast Texas took their customary precautions of shutting down operations. In doing so, they released about 4 million pounds of pollutants into the air.” 

Chemical Release, Valero oil refinery, Port Arthur, Texas

Aug. 27, 2020

Valero reportedly released 840 pounds of sulphur dioxide around its Port Arthur operations during shut down procedure for Hurricane Laura. 

Chemical Leak, Motiva oil refinery, Port Arthur, Texas

Aug. 27, 2020

“In Texas, refineries were rushing to shut down as Laura came barrelling toward the coast. But shuttering these plants actually involves releasing millions of pounds of additional pollution. As part of shutdown procedures, these facilities often need to release and burn off (or flare) various unprocessed chemicals and gases,” reported Grist magazine. “In fact, when Laura made landfall in southeast Texas, a report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality showed that Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery, the largest oil refinery on the continent, had a chemical leak on a process line during the shutdown.”  According to publication Reform Austin, “Motiva’s emissions totaled nearly 90 tons, including a half-ton of benzene. The plant reported releasing more hazardous pollutants during the hurricane than it did in all of 2018.” 

Tank Fire, Pasadena Refining Systems refinery, Pasadena, Texas

Aug. 18, 2020

A tank fire was reported at Pasadena Refining Systems, adjacent to Buffalo Bayou. The product in the tank was “unknown,” according to a NOAA report.  There was no discharge of foam or fire suppression water into the waterway.  A site Risk Management Program report says the refinery “operates a variety of processes to produce petroleum products (e.g., refinery grade propylene, gasoline, fuel oil, and coke) from raw crude oil. The refinery has several regulated flammables, such as hydrogen, methane, ethanes, propanes, butanes, and pentanes. In addition, the refinery uses chlorine for algae control in cooling towers and hydrogen fluoride in the making of gasoline, which are also regulated substances.”

Explosion, 2 Fatalities, DAR PRO Solutions cooking oil/meat recycling plant, Byram, Mississippi

Aug. 15, 2020

An explosion killed two workers at a company that recycles used cooking oil and inedible meat byproducts for use in pet food. According to the Associated Press, DAR PRO Solutions did not report the incident to authorities.

Explosion, Brainerd Chemical warehouse, Dunn, North Carolina 

Aug. 11, 2020

An explosion occurred in the chemical distribution warehouse, apparently after sodium chloride and sulfuric acid were mixed.

Multiple Fires, Xcel Energy, French Island, LaCrosse, Wisconsin

Week of Aug. 24, 2020

Fire crews put out two fires in three days at a power plant. The first occurred in a dust collection system, the second broke out in a conveying system and was reported to have taken 40 firefighters nearly 7 hours to put out.  The plant burns garbage and fuel oil.

Chemical Spill, Borden Dairy, Winter Haven, Florida

July 29, 2020

A leak of a liquid at a dairy plant formed a cloud of gas and the site was evacuated. The leak was reported as   a combination of “Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite, Sodium Polyacrylate, Nitric Acid and Phosphoric Acid.”

Chemical Leak, Wrentham Water Treatment Plant, Wrentham, Massachusetts

July 21, 2020

Two workers were hospitalized after being sprayed with potassium hydroxide from a pressurized hose. 

Chemical Leak, Amazon Warehouse, Phoenix 

July 16, 2020

Residents nearby a distribution warehouse were told to evacuate, and those further away were ordered to shelter in place, after a semi-truck was discovered smoldering and emitting a chemical odor. "Initially representatives from Amazon could not be found delaying the identification of the products inside the trailer," according to a local report. The identification of what was described as a hazardous chemical was never given to the press.

Flash Fire, Pyrotechnic Specialties, Byron, Georgia

June 18, 2020 

An explosion and flash fire caused burns to a worker at the facility. “The man was injured while turning potassium nitrate into pellets...The chemical is used in fireworks, rocket propellants, gun powder and more,” according  to a local news report. In 2016, OSHA fined the company $176,000 after another explosion injued an employee.

Chemical Spill, DENSO Manufacturing automotive components plant, Battle Creek, Michigan

June 16, 2020

A tank containing diluted chemicals, including sulfuric acid and hydrofluoric acid, spilled and caused an evacuation of the facility. One worker was sent to the hospital for inhalation of fumes. The plant makes automotive air conditioning and engine cooling components. 

Explosion, Troxel Company steel tubing plant, Moscow, Tennessee

June 15, 2020

An explosion in the ventilation system at the factory sent three workers to the hospital with burns. Troxel manufactures steel tubing. 

Explosion, Praxair Inc., Texas City, Texas 

June 11, 2020

A rupture in a nitrogen line caused an explosion at the facility, which produces hydrogen. 

Explosion, Derichebourg Recycling metal scrap yard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

June 10, 2020

Neighbors of the plant complained after an explosion shook nearby houses and caused a fire and a plume of smoke. “This isn’t the first or second time,” one neighbor said. Frequent explosions from this metal shredding plant have been reported at least since 2013

Chemical Release, BioLab swimming pool chemical plant, Conyers, Georgia 

May 25, 2020

A chlorine vapor cloud caused the shutdown of roadways and the evacuations of surrounding buildings, while residents were told to shelter in place. Officials blamed the release on water exposure. It was reported that the facility had been the site of several chemical fires in the past 16 years.

Explosion/Fire, SmokeTokes hash oil warehouse, Los Angeles, California

May 16, 2020 

An explosion and fire in a hash oil warehouse injured several firefighters who ran into the burning building only to be confronted by a ball of flames. “Some of the fleeing firefighters were on fire and tore off their protective equipment and left it on the sidewalk, along with melted helmets.” 

Ammonia Leak, Tyson Foods meat processing plant, Albertville,  Alabama

May 12, 2020

The plant was evacuated, with no injuries reported. Tyson is the world's largest meat and poultry processing company. OSHA previously said the company “failed to separate compressed gas cylinders of oxygen and acetylene while in storage - a violation for which OSHA cited the company in 2013 at its Albertville, Alabama, facility.” 

Explosion/Fire, The Allen Company, Berea, Kentucky 

May 10, 2020

The plant produces blacktop asphalt. An explosion in a heater caused the explosion. Fire was fueled by “100 gallons of oil and a natural gas line.” 

Fire, Magnesium Elektron, Madison, Illinois  

May 7, 2020

Fire broke out at a factory that produces magnesium alloys for batteries, electronics and cars. “It was determined oil and trash had caught fire at the facility. Magnesium was not involved as a fuel source for the blaze. The exact cause of the fire has not been determined.” The company paid a $50,000 fine after a fire in 2012. That Madison Fire Chief said, “I’ve been on this department 35 years and there’s probably been several fatalities out here. … From explosions or what have you.” 

Explosion/Fire. Henkel AG surfactant plant, St. Louis, Missouri 

May 1, 2020

A violent explosion occurred at a St. Louis surfactant plant. There were reports of sulfuric acid being leaked.  No injuries were reported.

Fire, Chemical Solvent Inc, Cleveland, Ohio

April 29, 2020 

A reported boiler malfunction caused a fire at CSI’s Jennings Road solvent blending plant. The Jennings Road plant is one two company sites that were issued fines from the EPA in Sept. 2019.  Under the consent decree with EPA, Chemical Solvents was to “pay a $400,000 penalty and upgrade control devices and monitoring equipment, implement a leak detection and repair program for waste and product tanks, and close a wastewater sump.” 

Lightning Strike, Chalmette Refining, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana 

April 18, 2020

“Plumes of smoke and the smell of chemicals emanated from the Chalmette Refining plant in St. Bernard Parish after power failed during heavy thunderstorms on Saturday,” according to NOLA.com. “The incident happened just after 4 p.m.. Chalmette Refining said there were no injuries and the plant flared off excess gasses, though the company did not specify what was burned, but the smell was reported across the New Orleans metro area. Some said it smelled like gasoline, while others in the Irish Channel complained of a burning tire smell in their neighborhood.”

Explosion/Fire, Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District, Bloomington, Illinois

April 16, 2020 

A methane gas leak in the building that managed sludge and gas production caused an explosion and subsequent fire. An employee opening the door to check the gas level was caught in the explosion and received minor injuries. 

Explosion, Pixelle Specialty Solutions Paper Mill, Jay, Maine 

April 15, 2020

An explosion destroyed a digester that produces pulp.  Some employees suffered respiratory issues and were treated and released. By October 29, 2020 the company had laid off 177 people from the mill. A statement from the company blamed the layoff on, “the costs and hardships caused by April’s explosion.” 

Coal dust cloud, Crawford Coal Plant, Chicago, Illinois

April 10, 2020 

The demolition of a shuttered coal plant unleashed a heavy cloud of coal dust over Chicago’s south side neighborhood of Little Village. “The demolition happened as officials are trying to contain COVID-19, a respiratory illness,” reported the Chicago Tribune. “The neighborhood near the plant has already had at least 268 people fall ill with COVID-19.”

Fire/Explosion, Valero Refinery, St. Bernard’s Parish, Louisiana 

April 9, 2020

One person was injured from an explosion of which a blown pressure relief valve was a suspected cause. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the refinery also flared “excess materials.” No results of air monitoring were available and the company did not disclose if any chemicals were released. More information here

Explosion, OneH2 hydrogen fuel plant, Long View, North Carolina

April 7, 2020

According to a local news report, “OneH2 provides hydrogen fuel tanks for commercial vehicles, such as forklifts. Witnesses said their homes were shaken by the explosion. Some of the houses had doors and windows blown out by the blast...Catawba County officials said about 60 homes near the plant suffered minor damage. One home was declared uninhabitable and the owner is being assisted.”  In June 2020, nearby residents asked the plant to be moved to another, safer location. 

Additional Incident Resources