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One missing after fire at Texas natural gas facility

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Explosion, huge fire at Texas refinery
  • Fire breaks out at a portion of an east Texas natural gas facility
  • No injuries or deaths are reported, but officials are looking for one worker
  • School stops outdoor activities

(CNN) -- As a large fire at a natural gas and chemical facility in east Texas slowly burned itself out Tuesday evening, officials continued searching for a contract worker.

There were no injuries reported at the fire in Mont Belvieu, about 35 miles east of Houston, said Rick Rainey, a spokesman for Enterprise Products.

"It's gone down quite a bit," Rainey said of the fire at an evening press conference. Workers are trying to contain it, he said.

A worker who was unaccounted for was believed to be away from the site, but the company was conducting a search, Rainey said.

An investigation will look into the cause of the blaze.

The fire broke out shortly after noon at a facility used to store natural gas liquids. Flames shot hundreds of feet into the air for several hours.

A two-mile perimeter was cleared around the plant and a nearby school restricted outdoor activities.

"The plant is within five miles of the school and according to the emergency command center, there is no indication that the fire is of a toxic nature, since they believe the fuel driving the flame is natural gas," said Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole. "Additionally, the wind is blowing away from us."

"We don't believe this is a safety issue," Poole said. "However, we do have a lot of parents here at the school who are employees over at Enterprise, so that's caused a lot of concern for us here."

According to its website, Enterprise Products owns or has interest in approximately 19,200 miles of onshore natural gas pipelines that provide for the gathering and transmission of natural gas in Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.

CNN's Vivian Kuo and Sara Pratley contributed to this report.