Houston chemical plant conspiracy theories

@JamaalBowmanNY/X @FOX26Houston/X

Conspiracy theorists are already calling the Texas chemical plant explosion suspicious

The facts, of course, show no evidence whatsoever of a secret foreign sabotage,


Mikael Thalen


In each edition of web_crawlr we have exclusive original content every day. On Mondays our Tech Reporter Mikael Thalen debunks the most wild conspiracy theories swirling around the web in his “One Dumb Conspiracy” column. If you want to read columns like this before everyone else, subscribe to web_crawlr to get your daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

An explosion at a chemical plant outside of Houston, Texas, has conspiracy theorists convinced once again that America is being sabotaged from within.

Last week, footage of a huge plume of smoke coming from the Sound Resource Solutions plant spread across social media. The plant produces petroleum-based products and carries extremely flammable chemicals such as acetone. Company president Geoff Harfield stated that a “forklift incident” led to the explosion.

Conspiracy theorists, however, are suggesting that something nefarious is afoot.

“These sort of things seem to be happening a lot lately,” one user on X wrote.

“Have explosions always been this popular?” another asked.

In reality, such accidents happen more often than many realize. But ever since numerous high-profile accidents caught the attention of conspiracy theorists this year, such as the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that led to a controlled burn of hazardous materials, all ensuing accidents have been deemed suspicious.

Some conspiracy theorists argued the fire was a “distraction” from last week’s elections while others suggested the incident could have come from a “terror strike.”

“Totally normal,” one user added. “Not sabotaged or anything.”

“Seems like foreign sabotage of supply chain, probably using domestic/local actors – maybe ones who took advantage of wide open southern border,” another surmised. “But let’s see where the ‘facts’ lead. Prayers for everyone involved there.”

The facts, of course, show no evidence whatsoever of a secret foreign sabotage intended to bring America to its knees. A map released in February by the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters showed that 224 fires, explosions, and toxic chemical releases took place in the previous year.

In other words, such accidents happen fairly often. Most just don’t garner national attention. Either way, conspiracy theorists can’t help but view the world through a paranoid lens that frames every single negative incident as part of a greater plan to enslave them.

Why it matters

When chemical accidents happen, it is important for the public to receive credible information. Distrust of the government is common at such times and isn’t entirely unwarranted. Governments have failed to properly inform the public of certain dangers before. 

But spreading baseless conspiracy theories based on no evidence that the accident was intentional serves no one.

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