MONT BELVIEU, Texas – A precautionary evacuation was removed from parts of Mont Belvieu after a LyondellBasell wellhead had a product leak and a fire broke out in a Lone Star facility Sunday morning in the area, according to company officials.
Officials lifted the evacuation order for the 15 to 20 homes at about 8 p.m. Sunday.
Mont Belvieu City Manager Bryan Easum said brine water mixed with a hydro-carbon product during the leak, which has since been sealed.
A LyondellBasell spokesperson said monitors indicated a pressure build-up around 10 a.m. in a wellhead at the company’s pipeline storage facility off Highway 146 near Winfree Street.
Chief Bruce Oliphant with Mont Belvieu Emergency Service said drivers were rerouted and portions of Highway 146 were closed, but have since been reopened.
“We saw a humongous cloud of smoke coming home, heading east on I-10,” Matthew Brown said.
BREAKING: Evacuation in Mont Belvieu lifted. City alerting residents. Highway 146 reopened. @KPRC2— KPRC Cathy Hernandez (@KPRC2Cathy) June 27, 2016
“We just drove around and just did what we needed to do, go to Walmart and simple things like that,” Brown said.
Oliphant said the evacuations has impacted "The Hill" area in Mont Belvieu. Easam said "The Hill" area, which was once the center of the city, has about only 20 residences today.
LyondellBasell officials said the company doesn’t own the nearby Lone Star facility, where a fire was extinguished around at 4 p.m.
“We still don't know a lot (about) the cause of the incidents. I'm sure there's going to be investigations in the coming weeks,” Easam said.
Easum said no word on if the fire and the leak were related.
Easum said no injuries have been reported in relation to the fire.
LyondellBasell officials said no injuries have been reported and all its employees have been accounted for. Air monitoring shows no offsite impact, the company said.
According to officials, the well stores light hydrocarbons that are used to manufacture products such as rubber and tires.
“We are working closely with local authorities and other area facilities to ensure continued safety of the public. We understand also that the City of Mont Belvieu has ordered evacuation of the immediate area,” LyondellBasell
The 42-acre facility uses caverns in underground salt domes to store various feedstocks and refined products and distributes them via pipeline to other company facilities and several customers in the region, the company said.
"We want to be sure everything is safe," Easum said.
Although the incidents sparked concerned, it something longtime residents are used to.
“I've lived here my whole life. This is nothing new to me. This happens. That's what you get for finding good land at a good price but it being with all plants around,” Delihah Medrano said.
Medrano said she'll pack a bag of clothes just in case it happens again.
“I'm just bring prepared in case we need to evacuate and in a few hours or not,” Medrano said.