Tens of thousands of residents had evacuated their homes by Thanksgiving day following a series of explosions at a Texas chemical plant, Jefferson County spokeswoman Allison Nathan Getz told CNN.
A fire continued to burn Thursday as a smoke cloud covered the area surrounding the TPC Group plant.
The first explosion rocked the small city of Port Neches Wednesday morning, leaving at least three employees injured. More explosions followed throughout the day, including one that launched a tower into the air "like a missile," Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said.
The blasts shattered windows, destroyed roofs and left residents fearing for their safety after officials urged them to "shelter in place" early Wednesday.
TPC has not yet said what caused the explosion or the extent of the damage.
Branick, who issued a mandatory evacuation for areas within a 4-mile radius of the plant, said he was sorry for "any plans that might have been interrupted."
"I know that it's extremely frustrating, particularly on the eve of Thanksgiving, for you to be away from your homes and family, and I can feel your frustration," he said at a Wednesday news conference. "But I want to emphasize that the safety of the community is always going to be our top concern."
В Техасе серия взрывов на химзаводе, идет эвакуация населения, разрушения в соседних населенных пунктах, свободолюбивые русскоязычные блоггеры.... усиленно не замечают, ибо не заплатят и это ж не "отсталая ржавая рашка-беноколонка"