Two injured, one missing after chemical fire and explosion in Cresson

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Amber Gutierrez, Dylan Mitchell's girlfriend, was waiting Friday afternoon near the site of Thursday's explosion at a Tri-Chem Industries plant in Cresson, 50 miles southwest of Dallas.

Investigators believe a worker dragging his foot along the factory floor sparked the blast, Associated Press reports, though this theory has been called into question after it was noted that staff wear special boots to prevent such an ignition.

After a fertilizer plant explosion in the city of West, Texas, killed 15 people in 2013, Greg Abbott, who was then attorney general and is now governor, ruled that state agencies could withhold information about hazardous chemicals because of "ongoing terroristic activity".

Texas Department of Public Safety Staff Sgt. Earl Gillum said experts determined there were no air quality issues Thursday, but that the site remains unsafe because of the chemicals still to be cleaned up.

He says they searched the front half of the building on Thursday and Friday and haven't found the missing worker, who is presumed dead. Another worker was also taken to hospital with less severe injuries.

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Officials have not identified the missing worker.

An official says an explosion at a rural Texas chemical plant injured two workers and that a third is missing, and that fire crews are being kept away from the blaze because of toxic fumes and fear of another explosion. However, Austin Mitchell says his brother, 27-year-old Dylan Mitchell, is the missing worker. Hurricane Harvey last August flooded an Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, causing volatile organic peroxides to catch fire.

In recent years, Texas leaders have made it increasingly hard for the public to find out about the chemicals manufactured and stored at such plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities are monitoring air emissions. But Rhodes says emergency responders have been evacuated from the vicinity because of fears of another explosion.

A person answering the phone at Tri-Chem's Coppell, Texas, headquarters said there was no one available on Friday to speak to the media. Editors who used BC-US-Chemical Plant Fire-Texas-The Latest, sent March 15 and datelined in Cresson, Texas, are asked to use the following story.

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