Mandatory evacuations lifted following Port Neches plant explosion

The mandatory evacuation orders have now been lifted after that massive chemical plant fire in Port Neches. Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick says firefighters who've been battling the flames at TPC Group's Port Neches site, have knocked down the fire enough that is now safe for residents to return to their homes. People in Port Neches, Nederland, Groves, and part of Port Arthur were told to get out on Wednesday afternoon. Officials say the fire is still burning, but can be controlled until it is finally out. The cause of the fire hasn't yet been determined.

The announcement comes after officials viewed drone footage and thermal imagery of the plant and say the current status is better than what they had hoped for. Fire water to the facility was temporarily cut off, but has since been restored. The amount of water being used was at one point 50-million-gallons a day, but it has recently dropped. Evacuation orders are being lifted for the surrounding ares, but they ask nobody approach the TPC facility at this time. Officials say the explosion sent debris flying all over the city, and they're urging residents to check their yard for anything unusual. 

Photo: Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick announces mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted.

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