Dylan Mitchell is believed to have been inside the Tri-Chem Industries plant, which is located in Cresson, about 20 miles outside of Fort Worth, when something sparked a fire and an explosion consumed the building, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. The Fort Worth Fire Department has sent 10 units to the scene for fire and hazardous materials support. Authorities said workers at the plant were special shoes to eliminate or reduce static discharge. The loud noise was then followed by "big fireballs" that started to shoot out of the building.
"Things were blowing out of the roof, like metal lids on buckets", said Jesse Bailey, who was working next door to the plant when the blast occurred.
Investigators believe a worker dragging his foot along the floor while chemicals were being mixed sparked Thursday's explosion.
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Cresson Mayor Bob Cornett says searchers entered the wreckage late Thursday afternoon thinking they knew where the worker was, but their search was fruitless.
The area is now closed to traffic, and the chemical plant and a nearby lumber yard have been evacuated. But Rhodes says emergency responders have been evacuated from the vicinity because of fears of another explosion.
Tri-Chem Industries offers commercial chemical blending services for customers in Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, according to its website.
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At this point, crews are planning to let the fire burn out.
Inside the plant water or solids are blended with highly concentrated chemicals.
It wasn't immediately clear what types of chemicals are manufactured at the Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Dallas.
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'What was burnt and exploded was quite toxic, ' Cornett said.