9 contractors released from hospital after Shell Chemical Plant fire in Deer Park

DEER PARK, Texas – Authorities say nine people were taken to the hospital after a massive fire in Deer Park at a Shell Chemical Plant that continued to burn Friday.

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Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said five people were transported for precautionary measures, mainly due to the heat. According to Scott Spiegel, spokesperson for Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, three others took themselves to the hospital. Shell tweeted a total of nine contractors were evaluated at the hospital, but have since been released.

Additionally, Gonzalez said the fire started because of a heat exchange between two heavy gas oils.

Around 5:40 p.m., Gonzalez said the fire is being diminished and had been contained.

The burning product is also being depressurized.

WATCH LIVE: Massive fire reported after explosion at plant in Deer Park (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

The location of the plant is in the block of 5900 Highway 225 near Center Street.

A massive fire has been reported after an explosion at a Shell Chemical Plant near Deer Park (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

It is still unclear exactly what chemical is currently burning off, however, smoke was seen billowing from a distance by SKY 2 cameras.

Small flares and dark smoke plumes were seen across the plant for hours after the explosion.

An Environmental Duty Representative sent the team at Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) system the following statement to be released:

“This is the Environmental Duty Representative at Shell Deer Park. We are currently experiencing fire within one of our units. The incident is being handled within the boundaries of this facility and there is no threat to the community form this incident. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Shell officials stated that a Shelter in Place was not issued for the city of Deer Park Friday afternoon.

Harris County Fire Marshal and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are responding.

Deer Park ISD officials say a Shelter in Place was not issued because the wind is blowing away from campuses.

School dismissal took place Friday afternoon according to the regular schedule.

The Shell Chemical Plant has been in the city of Deer Park since 1929.

The site operates 24 hours a day and is a combination of processing equipment, control rooms, storage tanks, environmental protection equipment, office buildings, shops, and warehouses.

Key chemical plant business categories include:

  • Light Olefins – ethylene, propylene and butylenes for plastics, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, antifreeze, detergents, etc
  • Heavy Olefins – isoprene, butadiene and piperylene for latex paints, adhesives, tapes, wire coating, synthetic rubbers, ink, etc.
  • Phenol – phenol and acetone for plastics, wood preservatives, dyes, antiseptic products, agricultural chemicals and other products.

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About the Author:

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.