Investigation Continues Following Houston Explosion

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HOUSTON - Cleanup at a chemical plant continued today after an explosion shattered windows in nearby homes and set buildings at the facility ablaze.

The explosion at Marcus Oil & Chemical was caused by a mechanical failure in a vessel, according to Houston firefighters. The plant makes polyethylene waxes used in paint and printing

Tommy Dowdy, a district chief with the fire department, said about half of the plant was damaged during the fire, which broke out shortly before 6 p.m. Friday. Millions of bags of wax produced by the plant melted and flowed out into a parking lot where firefighters at one point were working.

One firefighter suffered burns when he fell forward in the wax and used his hands to catch himself. The firefighter was treated at a nearby hospital. A second firefighter was also transported to a hospital after suffering a back injury and nine residents went to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, he said.