Deer Park, TX was experiencing a city-wide panic as flames of the recent chemical plant fire have finally been extinguished. Starting at the
Intercontinental Terminal Company the fire went on for four days. The disaster began at one single tank, which quickly spread to others. The fire was battled with a special firefighting team from Louisiana. The team used a mixture of foam and water to reduce the flames from spreading.
The fire started at a transfer pump which then migrated to a tank according to Marcelo D’Amico, who leads fire protection engineer and risk management for Orcus Fire. Without proper systems in place, which would have stopped the fire in an instant the flames continued to spread.
With the fire burning and sending smoke into the surrounding area’s several school districts and stores were closed. No serious injuries have been reported, but the chemical smoke that rose should be considered dangerous for health. According to Harris County Public Health civilians in the area should monitor their health for coughing, difficulty breathing, burning, irritation, redness in eyes, and even nausea/dizziness. Those most at risk of these health problems are children and the elderly with respiratory issues. If any of these problems arise seek medical attention for help.
To avoid these problems HCA Houston Healthcare released a statement that it is best for people to stay inside. This will help those in the areas avoid furthering health complications. Those who thought of face mask as a precaution should be warned that even the mask will not be able to protect you from the fumes. With the fire lasting four days, those who were in the surrounding areas should be okay, but caution is still advised.
Ryan Sitton works with the Railroad Commission of Texas who regulates and manages the oil and natural gas in Texas. Sitton stated that air quality is always being monitored and the area was not a risk as of right now. That was on Tuesday, while the fire continued to go on for another day. It is also worth noting that the spokes person for the ITC & Texas Commission only measure ground-level air quality.
Britton Bronson, student Doctor at Texas Chiropractic College, is living in Pasadena for school and has felt the consequences of the fire. Bronson suggested that as early as Monday when she first saw the fire she believed that it had the capabilities of spreading further. “The city sent out a notice about what was happening and said everything would be okay, but you could tell this wasn’t normal”. Bronson stated that a citywide shelter ordinance was sent out and you can still feel the lingering effects of the explosion. “My friends and I have noticed problems including coughing, dizziness, and even migraines.”