LA PORTE, Texas — A DuPont plant leak killed four workers early Saturday morning, Nov. 15, 2014.
Authorities said the worker accident fatalities occurred when methyl mercaptan, a dangerous chemical for making fungicides and insecticides, was inadvertently released into the air about 4 a.m. in an operations building of DuPont, located on Strang Road’s 11600 block.
The four workers were employed in DuPont’s crop protection unit, one of two units on DuPont’s 800-acre facility at which 320 people work.
Dead are Robert Tisnado, 39, of Pasadena and brother Gibby Tisnado, 48. Also dead was Wade Baker, 60, a crew supervisor, and a female worker has not been named.
A fifth worker was exposed to the chemical and taken to Bayshore Hospital, where that worker is expected to recover, and two other workers in the unit were evacuated safely.
Methyl mercaptan is designed to provide natural gas with its rotten-egg smell. But in strong doses, the chemical can cause severe eye, skin and respiratory irritation, as well as nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma and death by asphyxiation.
DuPont needed around two hours to contain the chemical. Such inadvertent releases of 100 or more pounds of methyl mercaptan must be reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also were notified of the accident.