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Deer Park Petrochemical Fire Reignites: Black Smoke Billowing Again

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The Deer Park petrochemical fire that originally started on Sunday, March 17, has ignited once again on Friday, March 22. Black smoke is rising over the Houston suburb once again, and it appears that two tanks could be blazing. This came after the dike wall containing the chemical partly collapsed on Friday, prompting the Intercontinental Terminal Company to issue a shelter-in-place warning for its neighbors as well as the San Jacinto Texas State Historic Site.

At the time of this writing, the City of Deer Park wasn’t issuing a shelter-in-place order but was closely monitoring the situation. Readers are advised that the situation is fluid and to check official city pages for the latest info. We can confirm that Harris County Precinct 8 is shutting down the Beltway 8 Ship Channel Bridge in a precautionary action.

Deer Park Petrochemical Fire Reignites: Black Smoke Billowing Again

Photo: Facebook/Cricia Prescott White

ITC officials had said earlier that an attempt was being made to transfer the two million gallons of the chemical within the burned tank to an undamaged container. They noted that during this process, it was possible another leak of benzene could occur. The extremely flammable chemical is known to cause dizzy spells, rapid/irregular heartbeats, and even induce unconsciousness and, when levels are high enough, death.

Also on Friday, the Houston Ship Channel shut down in the area of Tucker Bayou to Light 116 as a result of pollution from the petrochemical fire.

Deer Park Petrochemical Fire Reignites: Black Smoke Billowing Again

Photo: Facebook/Charles Thomas to Deer Park Tx. Citizens for Crime Prevention

The Houston suburb of Deer Park, Texas, has experienced a difficult, smoke-filled week. The original fire broke out on Sunday morning and soon was blazing in eight tanks. As we reported at the time, “According to a release from ITC, the chemicals retained in many of the tanks involved in the fire are used in the making of base oil, which is used in machine lubricants and finished gasoline. Another tank contained Toluene, which is used in the nail polish remover, paint thinner, and some glues. The first two tanks which caught fire contained Naptha and Xylene, both of which are used in the production of gasoline. Naptha has been known to irritate the throat and nasal passages when breathed in, according to earlier reports, and when it’s exposed to open flame, poisonous gases are produced.”