Posted BY: Jasmine | NwoReport

DEER PARK, Texas — A large fire at a Shell chemical plant in Deer Park is contained and diminishing, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said five contractors were taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure. Shell said a small number of contractors were exposed to a product and were taken for medical treatment as a precaution.

No serious injuries were reported. 

He said the fire started as “a heat exchange between two heavy gas oils.” The sheriff’s office said it’s still unclear what led to the fire. 

Shell said the fire started at 2:56 p.m. The company’s full statement can be read below:

“At approximately 2:56 p.m. CST, a fire started at Shell’s Deer Park Chemicals facility in the olefins unit. The ignited product includes cracked heavy gas oil, cracked light gas oil, and gasoline. No injuries have been reported, though a small number of contract employees who were exposed to the product are undergoing medical evaluation as a precaution.

“Emergency responders are on the scene and working to put out the fire. The cause of the fire will be the subject of a future investigation, and our immediate priorities remain the safety of people and the environment.”

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All employees were evacuated and accounted for. The sheriff said there is no impact to the community beyond the facility.

Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia issued the following statement on the fire at around 4:43 p.m.:

“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.”

Shell issued the following statement at 4:08 p.m.:

“This is the Environmental Duty Representative at Shell Deer Park. We are currently experiencing fire within one of our units. The incident is being handled within the boundaries of this facility and there is no threat to the community from this incident. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has deployed air monitoring resources to the area in response to the fire.

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