DEER PARK, Texas – Nearly all 15 tanks on site at the ITC Deer Park chemical storage facility were damage by a fire that burned for several days.
Intercontinental Terminals Co. spokeswoman Alice Richardson said Tuesday afternoon most of the 15 tanks in the farm at the corner of Independence Parkway and Tidal Road were affected by the fire.
Two of the tanks contain blend gasoline, one tank contains xylene, one tank contains naphtha and one tank contains pyrolysis gasoline, Richardson added.
Two tanks that were empty when the fire started have collapsed, Richardson said.
The fire started Sunday around 10 a.m. due to a bad manifold, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Drone footage showed the extent of the damage.
Ryan Sitton, a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the state’s oil industry, said that while the plume of smoke may appear menacing, it is not toxic. He said the smoke does contain particulates. He said he feels confident that plenty of air quality monitoring is being conducted.
David Wascome, vice president of operations for ITC, said that monitoring of air quality continues, and the data shows that the air is safe.
“We’re also working with EPA,” Wascome said. “They actually flew a plane through the plume the last couple of days.”
The National Weather Service said that the plume is expected to shift a bit north during the day, with the bulk of the smoke concentrated along the Interstate 10 corridor.
Officials said that booms are in place to help trap any water that is running off from the site of the fire. In conjunction with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, tests are being frequently conducted on water in the area, officials said.
A spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office said it is not clear how long the fire will burn. She said it is possible that it will burn until the fuel for the fire is exhausted. One official said firefighters would have a much better idea how long the fire will burn on Wednesday.
Wascome said that the tanks that are burning are between 20 and 30 years old and are regularly inspected.
Sally Mamdooh provides updates on fire
Jacob Rascon provides update on fire
ITC 10 a.m. Tuesday update
Harris County Judge Hidalgo, Mayor Turner 12 p.m. update
ITC officials provide update on Deer Park fire at 4 p.m.