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Thousands could be closer to justice three years after TPC plant explosion in Port Neches

The blast damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

PORT NECHES, Texas — Thousands of families could be closer to justice years after a 2019 plant explosion rocked the city of Port Neches.

Many Southeast Texans will never forget the day the TPC plant exploded in November 2019. The blast damaged hundreds of homes and businesses in Port Neches and even knocked some residents out of their beds. 

A preliminary report from federal agencies said things called popcorn polymers built up, clogged lines in a unit, and lead to a release of flammable liquid. 

Years later, thousands of families who sued the company are still waiting for justice. 

In June 2021, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in the state of Delaware. TPC's chapter 11 bankruptcy automatically paused the lawsuits, creating a new challenge.

Related: TPC Group files for bankruptcy 2 years after Port Neches plant explosions

Mark Sparks is an attorney with the Ferguson Law Firm. The firm has filed more than 1,000 lawsuits in connection with the 2019 explosion

“It was so simple,” Sparks said. “Listen to the employees, our clients that worked out there, shut this down.”

Sparks believes hope is on the horizon for those waiting for justice. TPC’s bankruptcy could potentially be finalized in December, allowing for other lawsuits to proceed.

Attorney Brent Coon with Brent Coon & Associates is also representing more than 1,000 of the plaintiffs taking action against TPC.

Ferguson and Coon agree that TPC knew it had a problem with popcorn polymers. Coon previously told 12News he expected the company to file for bankruptcy and hired counsel to deal with that in Delaware.

Related: Lawsuit alleges history of TPC Group operator error, equipment malfunctions, air quality violations

Judge Courtney Arkeen is overseeing what is known as a multi-district litigation or an MDL.

TPC has previously denied commenting on the lawsuits, but a company spokesperson previously told 12News the bankruptcy filing will help the company's bottom line by "resolving tort liabilities and eliminating nearly a billion dollars in debt."

TPC now uses what's left of the Port Neches plant as a terminal to process chemicals.

According to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's website, an investigation is still ongoing. No formal report has been released.

Also on 12NewsNow.com ... 


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