Residents and businesses in an area of Bellville, Texas are being ordered to evacuate after explosions were reported near a local gas plant.
According to the Austin County Sheriff’s Office, a previous mandatory evacuation was issued for a one-mile radius around the Western International Gas plant. However, the Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that the evacuation zone later expanded to a five-mile radius. Tuesday evening the evacuation was lifted.
The Sheriff’s Office said that several explosions took place around 7 a.m. this morning at the Western International Gas facility. There are no reported injuries, according to officials. Nearby residents described thick, black smoked filled the sky over the plant and explosions that “sounded like grenades”.
According to the company website, Western International is a wholesale supplier of acetylene — a fuel gas for welding and cutting applications.
The cause of the explosions and fire is under investigation.