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A fire at the Formosa Plastics Complex near Victoria, Texas this past Friday left five hospitalized. Workers were conducting maintenance on a tower in the polyethylene unit when the fire began. The incident marks one of three major fires at the plant this past decade, one occurring in May of this year.
The cause is still unknown, but reporters have commented on a history of code violations. The Victoria Advocate reported 22 written notices of violations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the past five years, including seven filed from within the company.
The fire occurred amidst an ongoing suit against Formosa. This past May, 14 workers were injured from a flash fire. In 2005, a forklift ripped a gas-pipe valve, triggering a five-day blaze that sent 16 workers to the hospital. The blaze also shut down the town for six-hours with an evacuation order put in place.
Formosa has since installed safety mechanisms to protect nearby residents. The plant has a fire alarm system that uses varying tones to warn neighbors of potential dangers.
Despite the numerous incidents, local resident Terry Vineyard expressed to the Victoria Advocate that she felt safe. "They have everything under control over there," she said. "Nothing major has happened there for a few years."
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