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Mid-County residents reflect on impact of TPC explosions one year later

Thousands out of their homes right before Thanksgiving in 2019 due to the TPC plant blowing up in massive flames.

PORT NECHES, Texas — A typical Thanksgiving holiday hasn't been the norm for people in Mid-County. First, an explosion forced them out of their homes. Now, a pandemic is forcing them to keep their homes closed.

Mid-County residents experienced a horrifying explosion a year ago.
Thousands were out of their homes right before Thanksgiving due to the TPC plant blowing up in massive flames.

A year later, people are still reminiscing on the past, and some are saying they're memories that will now last for a lifetime.

“It woke us up; it was horrible,” Laura Ryan said.

One year ago around Thanksgiving, an explosion woke Mid-County resident Ryan out of a good night's rest. “Everyone ran outside to see what it was, in our robes and pajamas,” Ryan said.

The TPC plant explosion that left dozens across Mid-County in shock.
“It busted out the windows and sort of made a horrible noise,” Ryan said

It also shifted Thanksgiving plans that were already set in stone.
“Well, it devastated our holidays of course,” Ryan said. “We had damages and we had to evacuate."

RELATED: Port Neches homes still damaged from TPC explosion 6 months later

RELATED: What caused the 2019 TPC explosion? New report from Chemical Safety Board details 6,000 gallon butadiene leak

Daytime explosions followed, and tens of thousands had to evacuate from the place that brings them the most comfort during the holiday seasons. Air quality and additional explosions was a big concern for officials. It made for an odd Thanksgiving to say the least.

Although people are back in their homes this year for Thanksgiving, many are forced to spend it alone due to the pandemic.

“You would think a year later you can catch a breath and enjoy the holidays with your family, but again we have to be extra cautious now because of the pandemic,” Ryan said.

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said the day is etched in his memory.
And Ryan couldn’t agree anymore. “It left a lasting impression on everyone. it'll never go away,” Ryan said.

Clean-up and demolition work continues on the damaged plant. The company says it's also focused on moving chemicals through its terminal, but the plant itself is still shut down.

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