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Explosion reported at Mont Belvieu natural gas plant

The explosion was reported at about 4:45 p.m. at a natural gas plant on West Winfree Street, according to authorities.

MONT BELVIEU, Texas — An explosion was reported Wednesday at a Mont Belvieu natural gas plant.

Authorities said the explosion happened about 4:45 p.m. at the Lone Star NGL (natural gas liquids) facility on West Winfree Street, which is about 30 miles east of Houston.

Lone Star NGL officials said a contractor struck an underground pipeline. There were no reports of injuries or evacuations. Officials said the area is secure and the fire will likely burn itself out overnight.

Highway 146 was closed from FM 1942 to FM 565 while crews responded to the scene.

The Mont Belvieu Fire Department was working with other first responders to control the fire that broke out after the blast. Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said the fire was contained at about 7 p.m.

Here's a statement from Lone Star NGL:

"At approximately 4:45 pm CT a contractor at the Mont Belvieu facility struck an underground pipeline. There are no injuries, and all employees and contractors are safe. There have been no evacuations and the area is secure. Our emergency response plan has been activated, and responders from the local fire department and our fire team are on site for a joint response. At this time, fire crews on site are containing the fire, which is the standard response in this type of incident. There will be an investigation into the cause of this incident. Updates will be provided as information becomes available."

Witness accounts

Witnesses said the explosion was startling and they knew what they heard and felt wasn't from the thunderstorms in the area.

"The ground shook. That's why we knew it wasn't thunder," one witness said.

"Everyone here is fine. ... Yes, it shook the house. Sounded like thunder but the storms had already passed. Walked outside and saw the smoke," another witness said.

Here are some videos of the fire burning after the explosion:

Here are photos from the scene:

Credit: KHOU
Credit: KHOU