Chemical Leak at DuPont Plant Kills 4 in Texas

Cause behind leak of methyl mercaptan unclear
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2014 7:56 AM CST
Aaron Woods, a spokesman for DuPont, said four DuPont employees died after being exposed to a gas early Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 in LaPorte, Texas.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Marie D. De Jesus)
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(Newser) – Four people died at a DuPont plant in Texas early yesterday when a chemical gas leaked, reports NBC; officials say that some of those killed were responding to the leak in La Porte, near Houston. "There are no words to fully express the loss we feel or the concern and sympathy we extend to the families of the employees and their co-workers," says the plant manager. A fifth worker was hospitalized. "Not real sure why it happened, not real sure how much was released," a La Porte emergency management official tells KPRC. A federal team is being sent to investigate.

A valve leaked methyl mercaptan, which is used to give natural gas a rotten-egg smell, making it more readily apparent; the gas spread through the local area, but officials confirmed yesterday that it had dissipated. "We are used to funny smells around here, especially when the wind is out of the north," a local resident said. "We thought something had died in the house. We started burning candles but it didn't go away."

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