Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ US https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Channelview industrial fire, seen for miles, triggers massive emergency preparedness

Channelview industrial fire, seen for miles, triggers massive emergency preparedness



An industrial fire on Wednesday afternoon in Channelview emitted a large cloud of black smoke visible for miles over the Houston area, triggering a shelter order for nearby residents – but did not result in any deaths or life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The fire was ignited around kl. 16 at a chemical plant operated by K-Solv, a Houston-based company specializing in environmental incidents. Mikie Sopczak, the company’s director of environmental safety and security, said the fire started while the contents of one storage drum were being transferred to another drum.

He said he would not know the cause or the exact chemicals that came on fire until officials could thoroughly investigate where it started. Firefighters had extinguished the fire at. 20, officials said.

Several groups ̵

1; including Harris County Pollution Control, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and a K-Solv contractor – discovered acceptable air quality levels in the surrounding area. The protection order was lifted after about four hours, but air surveillance was expected to continue overnight.

While the fire was not life-threatening, it points to a broader pattern in Houston, the capital of the country’s petrochemical industry. The city is home to more than 2,500 chemical plants. A 2015 study by the Houston Chronicle showed that there is a major chemical incident in the greater Houston area every six weeks.

A longtime Channelview resident, Carolyn Stone, told the Houston Chronicle that the fire reflected what she felt was an increase in dangerous facilities built near neighborhoods.

“No one should have to rush home to see if their home is there,” Stone said, “and that is the situation we are facing.”

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Weather radar showed gusts of wind blowing the cloud of smoke northeast, against a mix of residential neighborhoods and industrial plants. From kl. 18, stationary TCEQ screens down the plant had not detected “any elevated levels of air pollutants,” according to a spokesman for the agency.

Government officials expressed relief that the fire did not match the destruction of previous chemical incidents, such as a 2019 fire at the KMCO chemical plant in Crosby that killed one person and critically injured two others. Another fire that year at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. facility in Deer Park burned for three days and temporarily closed the Houston Ship Channel.

“Let me first say that it is good news when you have a situation of this magnitude and no injuries or loss of life have been reported,” said County Commissioner 2 Harris County Adrian Garcia. “So we are very grateful for that.”

Garcia added that the company was the first to warn Channelview Fire Department. A large number of firefighters responded to help with what Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo described as “an incredible joint effort by too many agencies to list.”

While pollution levels did not appear to be a concern Wednesday, Hidalgo warned that there is always a chance of re-ignition.

Sopczak said about 95 employees were working at the plant at the time. All staff were accounted for, including one admitted to the hospital as a precaution with what he described as mild respiratory irritation.

“We will continue to use unlimited resources as needed to reduce any danger that may be there,” he said during an on-site press conference.


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