Massive Fire Engulfs Chemical Plant in Texas After Explosion

  • Post category:News / US News

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A massive fire broke out at a Shell industrial plant in Deer Park, Texas, on Friday after a reported explosion, resulting in a plume of smoke that was caught on radar.

Authorities explained that employees were evacuated from Shell Deer Park Chemicals and 9 contractors were injured, but were released from the hospital after the explosion exposed them to a hazardous chemical.

Shell released a statement Saturday assuring local residents that air monitoring picked up no harmful chemicals in the air and that there was no threat to the surrounding community.

“Shell continues to respond to a fire at its Deer Park Chemicals facility. The fire started around 3 p.m. while the olefins unit was undergoing routine maintenance, igniting cracked heavy gas oil, cracked light gas oil and gasoline.

“All site personnel have been accounted for, including 9 contractors who were released after undergoing precautionary medical evaluations. Air monitoring is ongoing, and has not detected any harmful levels of chemicals. There is no danger to the nearby community.

“Our immediate priorities remain the safety of people and the environment. The cause of the fire will be the subject of a future investigation.”

Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia also released a statement admitting that the cause of the fire is still unknown but is being investigated by fire marshal.

“My office has been in touch with the Office of Emergency Management, and we have also personally spoken with the plant manager at the facility that has been burning. In addition, the Fire Marshal and Harris County Pollution Control are on site, and we’ve been assured that the situation is under control. All employees at the facility have been accounted for. We urge people to avoid the area to make room for emergency response. There is no shelter-in-place currently in effect.

“Our CAMP (Community Air Monitoring Program) dashboard is operational, and we expect air quality data to start rolling in shortly. Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will provide additional guidance on air quality as needed. As we learn more, we will be sure to share those updates.

“We don’t know the cause of the fire, but a Harris County Fire Marshal investigation will begin as soon as the fire is out. Pollution Control will also remain in the area to continue air monitoring in the days ahead.”

The fire was so large that the resulting plume of smoke was caught on local radar.

This comes amid an alarming rise in the rate of fires and explosions at industrial plants, food depots and farms, and other critical infrastructure in recent years.

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