ITC starts paying claims after March fire at Deer Park facility


DEER PARK, Texas – The company responsible for a fire at a chemical storage facility in Deer Park earlier this year has started evaluating and paying claims, Intercontinental Terminals Company said in a statement.

People who lived or worked in the area during the incident are able to file a claim for "out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the incident or hourly workers’ lost wages for missed work because of shelter-in-place orders," the company said.

Hourly workers could receive up to $500 and people with health claims could get up to $750.

Proper documentation is required to receive claims.

For more information on the claims process, visit www.itcclaims.com.

What happened?

The fire started Sunday, March 17, and spread throughout the facility, engulfing nine of the 15 tanks in the area. It was put out around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Nearly 12 hours later, the fire reignited, sending a fireball into the air. Crews were able to put the fire out quickly, but the incident was far from over.

Five days after the fire was initially put out and crews had started pumping the chemicals out of the remaining tanks, benzene – a known carcinogen – was detected in the air, prompting more school closures and another shelter-in-place order.

On the sixth day after the initial fire, just as ITC officials were starting to seem hopeful that the situation was going in the right direction, the facility suffered a break in a dike wall near the incinerated tanks.

Hours after the break, two tanks and chemical runoff in a ditch caught fire, sending yet another plume of smoke over the Deer Park area.

About a week after the initial fire, reports of several toxins found in the water near ITC prompted officials to close the ship channel.