Video: Popcorn Polymer Explosion Recreated from Investigation

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The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recently released a 15-minute video that details how and why a 2019 explosion and hazmat incident occurred.

On Nov. 27, 2019, explosions and fires at the TPC Group Port Neches Operations facility chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas occurred when a piping section ruptured, releasing highly flammable butadiene that quickly ignited. The resulting pressure wave destroyed parts of the facility and injured two TPC employees and a security contractor.

The blast damaged nearby homes and buildings and was reportedly felt up to 30 miles away. Local officials stated that process fluid that continued to escape from ruptured equipment fueled fires that burned for more than a month.

Also Read: Final Report on 2019 Texas Chemical Plant Explosions and Fires

This new video recreation is based on CSB’s final investigation report that it released in December 2022.

This video is a good training tool to help hazmat teams and first-due fire units understand both the chemical reactions that took place and layouts of similar industrial sites.

The full report on the incident is available here.

CSB Board Member Sylvia Johnson said, “We believe our final report and recommendations will help facilities that handle and store large quantities of butadiene better control popcorn polymer formation and growth within their processes. Doing so can prevent another terrible incident like the one that occurred at TPC.”

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