The city of Deer Park, Texas, issued a provisional order on Thursday, following a three-day fire in a petrochemical warehouse due to airborne concentrations of dangerous chemical benzene. Facilities in the city, schools and some streets were closed.
Initially, the Intercontinental Terminals Company ordered its employees to stay in the house after "petrol" points were detected at their tank farm southeast of Houston.
ITC said there was an incident of chemical odors in our facility. At this time, (a) smell may be noticeable to the community. We coordinate with local authorities and work to solve the problem as soon as possible. "1
However, this changed when the leaders of Deer Park assessed the situation:
ITC later said that the Bizeze values represent an immediate risk. … ITC responders are actively working to reduce the cause of the increased readings.
The fire hit several storage tanks in the facility and burned from early Sunday to early Wednesday, triggering a huge, dark cloud of smoke. Thousands of feet were blown up.
There were concerns about air quality among some Residents and environmental groups, despite assurances from officials, that tests during fire and immediately after extinguishing show nothing wrong.
The trapped tanks of fire contained constituents of gasoline and materials for nail polish remover, adhesives and paint thinner According to ITC, 11 of the 15 were Storage tanks in the vicinity of the fire were damaged.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the fire burned for a short time, and the flares, which sent flames and smoke into the air, were contained within 30 seconds by firefighters, the city said Deer Park in a Tweet.
Before Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency air quality test led in the Houston area, both on the ground and from a light aircraft, and "did not measure any concentrations of dangerous concentrations," said agency official Adam Adams.
The EPA also reviewed the data held by ITC, Harris County, where Houston is based, and the US aviation authority The Texas Environmental Quality Commission and these data showed no hazardous levels of volatile organic compounds.
The State Environmental Agency said in a statement Wednesday that the levels of benzene found near and near the storage facility pose no health concerns.
But some residents living near the storage facility said they had no confidence in the air quality test results on Wednesday.
"Everything is wrapped in this beautiful perfect bow that says there were no problems, every air quality was perfect, every wind blew perfect, when everything was so perfect, why did it happen?" Terri Garcia, a longtime resident of Deer Park, said.
Bryan Parras, organizer of Houston's Sierra Club, said some residents living near the facility have experienced various symptoms since the blaze, including headache, nausea and nosebleeds. He said his environmental group had concerns not only about the air quality but also about the potential impact on the environment and the fishing industry if chemicals from the storage facility or foams were used to combat the fire that leaked into the Houston Ship Channel, which was in the Gulf leads from Mexico.