Federal Investigators to Examine Houston Blast

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HOUSTON -- The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board will conduct a formal probe into an explosion and fire at a Houston chemical plant.

The agency says its investigation will center on a 40,000-gallon tank that had been modified and did not have a pressure-relief system. The tank at the Marcus Oil and Chemical plant in Houston was about ten percent full when it exploded on December third.

The blast was felt about 25 miles away and blew out windows and
damaged homes and buildings near the facility. Two firefighters and at least nine nearby residents suffered minor injuries. Investigators have not determined whether excess pressure caused the explosion.

An attorney also plans to file a lawsuit against Marcus Oil on Monday on behalf of 27 people who live near the plant. It will seek compensation for property damage and injuries.