Texas Plant Fire Intensifies After Drop in Water Pressure

The fire could continue to burn for at least another day: authorities

Authorities say a drop in water pressure caused a large fire at a Houston-area petrochemicals terminal to intensify overnight Monday and spread to additional storage tanks.

The Deer Park Office of Emergency Management said the fire spread early Tuesday to two additional tanks, bringing to eight the total number of tanks overwhelmed by flames at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, about 15 miles southeast of Houston.[[507355252,C]]

Tuesday evening, the La Porte ISD announced that classes would be canceled on Wednesday due to a shift in winds that could push the smoke plume towards the district.

Two of the tanks were empty but the others contain components of gasoline and materials used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

The water pressure later normalized and authorities said the fire could continue to burn for at least another day.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday

Authorities say a plume of pitch-black smoke from a fire at a Houston-area petrochemicals terminal is traveling thousands of feet into the atmosphere and lessening concerns about air quality in the region.

Harris County's top administrator, Judge Lina Hidalgo, said at a news conference Tuesday that the plume is moving at least 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) into the air and staying high enough so that the air quality is not cause for alarm.

Officials say the fire that began Sunday at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, southeast of Houston, remains intense enough to create its own micro weather system, causing shifting winds in the area.

Harris County Health Authority Dr. Umair Shah says "there continues to be low risk to our community," but explains that vulnerable groups such as the elderly should be cautious.

There have been no reports of injuries from the fire.

11:30 a.m. Tuesday

Officials say it's unclear how long it will take to extinguish a fire at a Houston-area petrochemicals storage facility where a large blaze is burning several storage tanks filled with gasoline components.

Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen said at a news conference Tuesday that she doesn't know how long it will take for the fire to burn itself out.

Officials previously said the fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company facility in Deer Park could burn itself out by Wednesday. The fire started Sunday.

Authorities say a drop in water pressure caused the fire to intensify overnight and spread to additional storage tanks.

Company officials said Tuesday that five tanks are still burning and three have burned out. Two tanks that didn't have anything in them have collapsed.

9:40 a.m. Tuesday

Authorities say a drop in water pressure caused a large fire at a Houston-area petrochemicals terminal to intensify overnight and spread to additional storage tanks.

The Deer Park Office of Emergency Management says the fire spread early Tuesday to two additional tanks, bringing to eight the total number of tanks overwhelmed by flames at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Houston.

Two of the tanks were empty but the others contain components of gasoline and materials used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

The water pressure later normalized and authorities say the fire could continue to burn for at least another day.

Students returned to classes Tuesday but outside activities will be restricted as the fire continues to emit a huge plume of smoke that can be seen for miles.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us