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Tank explosion at plant injures 2

PASADENA — An explosion at a chemical plant in the Houston area Wednesday shook nearby homes, generated black smoke seen for miles and injured two workers.

A tank at the American Acryl plant in the Houston suburb of Pasadena exploded just before 9 a.m., Seabrook police Lt. Sean Wright said. The plant is near Seabrook.

TV coverage showed holes in a tank at an industrial complex. Debris could be seen near mangled, blackened equipment.

Officials in Pasadena and Seabrook ordered residents to remain indoors after the explosion because the tank contained toluene, a toxic petroleum byproduct used in paint and gasoline, said Rosie Torres, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. That order was lifted late Wednesday morning.

Roads around the plant were closed but reopened late in the morning after a fire started by the explosion was brought under control, Ms. Torres said.

Two workers hurt in the blast were taken to an area hospital as a precaution for inhalation injuries, said Kelli Gregory, a spokeswoman for American Acryl. They were treated and released, she said.

The cause of the explosion is still being investigated, Miss Gregory said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports