The father of two of four workers who died Saturday at a DuPont chemical plant near Houston said he doesn't blame the company for the horrific incident. "It's a real freak accident. Stuff like this isn't supposed to happen. There's nobody you can blame," Gilbert Tisnado told NBC affiliate KPRC. Tisnado's two sons Robert (Bobby) and Gilbert (Gibby) Tisnado were killed when methyl mercaptan, a toxic chemical, was released, possibly because of a leaky valve in the La Porte, Texas, facility. Two other people who died and a fifth who was taken to the hospital have not been identified, but their families have been notified, DuPont spokesman Aaron Woods said in a statement.
Tisnado said his "heart stopped beating" when he first heard from another one of his sons that there had been an accident at the plant, and his sons were involved. Tisnado said his sons were working overtime shifts on Saturday. "The things that come to your mind are the first time you held them, the first words they said, the first steps they took," Tisnado said of Gibby, a father and grandfather and Bobby, a father of three.
Eight U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) team members arrived in Houston on Sunday to investigate how the methyl mercaptan, which can cause vomiting, coma, and death in high concentrations, was released, according to a CSB statement.
"The team has not yet been able to access the area where the leak and the deaths occurred, described by (Investigation Supervisor Johnnie) Banks as an approximately five-stories high enclosed structure with piping, valves and other equipment," CSB said.
"At this point, obviously it is too soon for us to be able to determine the immediate cause of this accident," said Banks. "We will release information to the public as soon as confirmed findings are known."
The CSB has previously investigated four accidents at DuPont facilities, the statement said. One worker was killed in a series of three chemical leaks at a West Virginia DuPont facility in 2010, and another worker was killed in a DuPont facility accident in New York later that year, according to the CSB.
— Elisha Fieldstadt