Contract worker confirmed dead in Texas plant fire

HOUSTON (AP) — A contract worker was killed in a gas pipeline explosion and fire at a Houston-area petroleum plant, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Investigators found the remains of Rick Shaw, who had been working in the area of the Tuesday fire at the Enterprise Products storage plant in Mont Belvieu, according to a statement from the Houston-based company.

The statement offered no further details.

Shaw, who was hired by Baton Rouge, La.-based plant contractor Turner Industries, had been unaccounted for since the Tuesday afternoon explosion.

Relatives of Shaw had told the Houston Chronicle earlier Wednesday that they feared the worst after not hearing from him.

“One of the workers that was working with him said he was in the middle of the gas cloud when it happened, so I don’t really think he got out,” said Shaw’s brother, Mark Shaw, of Baytown. “It was a big fire.”

Messages left by The Associated Press at telephone listings for Mark Shaw were not immediately returned later Wednesday.

Turner Industries’ statement quoted CEO Roland Toups as extending the company’s “sympathy and condolences to the Shaw family.”

He called Rick Shaw “a dedicated employee.”

Crews cut off the fuel source that was feeding the blaze Wednesday morning, according to Enterprise Products spokesman Rick Rainey.

Rainey said the cause of the explosion remained under investigation, but possible pipeline failure would be considered. He has said workers heard a hissing sound before the blast.

The processing facilities that comprise the bulk of the complex in Mont Belvieu, about 30 miles east of Houston, have continued operating, Rainey said.

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