Channelview – Harris County officials and firefighters are investigating the large industrial fire that occurred in the 1000 block of Lakeside Drive in the Channelview area Wednesday afternoon.
The two-alarm fire broke out around 4 p.m. Residents in the area reported hearing loud noises and then seeing a huge plume of black smoke fill the air.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the fire was extinguished around 7 p.m. A shelter-in-place order that was issued for residents in Lakeside Park Estates and Lakeview Homes has now been lifted, Hidalgo said.
Rachel Moreno with the Harris County Fire Marshall’s office said the building is owned by K-Solv, a chemical distribution company.
Mikie Sopczak, the director of environmental health, safety, and security for K-Solv said the fire started during a drum transfer operation, which is the transfer of one product into a smaller container. Sopczak said during the transfer there was an ignition source that caused an intense fire. Sopczak added that several hotspots were put out overnight after the fire was extinguished.
K-Solv said all of 95 employees who were inside the facility during the fire are safe and accounted for. One person had to be transported to the hospital for respiratory issues. A company official said the employee was transported as a “precautionary measure.”
During a briefing Thursday, Sopczak said an active effort is underway to determine which chemicals were involved. Once they identify the products, they will share the information with the appropriate regulatory agencies.
According to the company’s website, some chemicals that may be stored at the facility include hydrochloric acid, acetone, ethanol, ethylene dichloride, and other acids. Air monitoring is taking place, with no actionable levels.
Sopczak said Harris County Pollution Control is monitoring the air quality for any changes or unsafe levels. As of Wednesday evening, Hidalgo said there were no readings of non-organic compounds in the air that would be a risk factor to residents’ health. She said pollution control will continue to monitor the air quality and water from the runoff stream.
The Harris County Fire Marshall said it will investigate the facility and continue to monitor it.
4/7/21 – There is an active situation occurring at the K-Solv Chemicals facility located in Channelview, TX. All employees are safe and accounted for. Firefighters and response crews are responding to the scene. We are monitoring the air quality and will have updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/XbhpnE3Noq— K-Solv (@k_solv) April 7, 2021
Firefighters responding to a large industrial fire in the Channelview area Tuesday.
Read the full air emissions report released on the fire: