Shell: Fire that reignited at Texas plant is extinguished

May 8, 2023, 1:18 PM

A fire burns at a Shell chemical facility in Deer Park, Friday, May 5, 2023, east of Houston. A che...

A fire burns at a Shell chemical facility in Deer Park, Friday, May 5, 2023, east of Houston. A chemical plant in the Houston area has caught fire, sending a huge plume of smoke into the sky. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Friday the fire was at a Shell USA Inc. facility in Deer Park, a suburb east of Houston. (Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Crews have finally extinguished a fire at a Houston-area petrochemical plant that had been burning on and off for days, according to Shell, which operates the plant.

Fire fighters first responded to the blaze at the Deer Park facility on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning, Shell said the fire had been extinguished. But a few hours later, Shell announced the fire had reignited.

The fire was finally extinguished on Sunday night, Shell spokeswoman Natasha Qamar said Monday. The reignited fire was contained in a controlled area.

“Air monitoring is ongoing and has not detected any harmful levels of chemicals affecting neighboring communities. There is no danger to the nearby community,” Shell said.

The city of Deer Park did not issue a shelter-in-place order for residents during the fire.

The fire had started at plant’s olefins unit, which makes plastics and rubber. The unit was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the fire.

Nine workers who were sent to a hospital were released after undergoing precautionary medical evaluations. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

Shell said Sunday that the large amount of water being used to extinguish the blaze had exceeded the plant’s wastewater storage capacity and was being released into the Houston Ship Channel.

A floating barrier or boom was being used to prevent any chemical products from the plant from running off with the wastewater and contaminating the channel, Qamar said.

After some rain on Sunday, a “light sheen” was seen outside the boom but it has been cleaned up, Shell said.

“Our teams are working around the clock to verify the environmental and safety precautions of the actions taken thus far,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top elected official, said in a statement Sunday night.

Local environmental groups were not reassured by Shell’s statements that the community was not in danger.

“History has shown that these early statements are for the benefit of industry public relations and not public health,” said Jennifer Hadayia, executive director of Air Alliance Houston.

Facility fires are not uncommon in the area, with the large presence of the petrochemical industry. In March, an explosion and a fire erupted at a facility owned by INEOS Phenol in nearby Pasadena, Texas, leaving one injured.

A fire in 2019 at a facility owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company burned for days and though it caused no injuries, it triggered air quality warnings. ___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter:

National News

File - Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the Apple Watch at the Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Aud...

Associated Press

Apple is expected to unveil sleek headset aimed at thrusting the masses into alternate realities

Apple appears poised to unveil a long-rumored headset that will place its users between the virtual and real world, while also testing the technology trendsetter’s ability to popularize new-fangled devices after others failed to capture the public’s imagination. After years of speculation, the stage is set for the widely anticipated announcement to be made Monday […]

7 hours ago

FILE - A person, reflected in glass, walks near the Tropicana Las Vegas on May 16, 2023, in Las Veg...

Associated Press

Las Vegas ballpark pitch revives debate over public funding for sports stadiums

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Joe Lombardo wants to help build Major League Baseball’s smallest ballpark, arguing that the worst team in baseball can boost Las Vegas, a city striving to call itself a sports mecca. Debate about public funding for private sports clubs has been revived with the Oakland Athletics ballpark proposal. The […]

1 day ago

FILE - Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speaks at an ...

Associated Press

Carter and the Kings: A friendship and alliance — but after MLK’s assassination

ATLANTA (AP) — The voice of Martin Luther King Sr., a melodic tenor like his slain son, carried across Madison Square Garden, calming the raucous Democrats who had nominated his friend and fellow Georgian for the presidency. “Surely, the Lord sent Jimmy Carter to come on out and bring America back where she belongs,” the […]

1 day ago

Last seasons plant stalks are seen at Seth Jacobs' marijuana planting field at his Slack Hollow far...

Associated Press

Slow start to New York’s legal pot market leaves farmers holding the bag

ARGYLE, N.Y. (AP) — Seth Jacobs has about 100 bins packed with marijuana flower sitting in storage at his upstate New York farm. And that’s a problem. There aren’t enough places to sell it. The 700 pounds (318 kilograms) of pungent flower was harvested last year as part of New York’s first crop of legally […]

1 day ago

FILE - Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions con...

Associated Press

Wisconsin Republicans look for rebound, Democrats stay on offensive as 2024 fights loom

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin once again be a battleground. Democrats, recognizing that four of the past six presidential elections in the state have been decided by less than a percentage point, are trying not to become overconfident in the face of recent gains. They are gathering for their annual state convention starting June 10 […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Michigan wildfire prompts evacuations, threatens multiple buildings

GRAYLING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A wildfire in Michigan burned more than 1,000 acres (1.5 square miles) and prompted emergency evacuations and road closures Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The wildfire located within Grayling Township, about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Grayling, is moving west and southwest and threatens multiple […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Shell: Fire that reignited at Texas plant is extinguished