Disaster News Network Print This

Chemical fire damages homes


Explosions and fire in a chemical plant early Wednesday forced the evacuation of about 100 people from their homes before the inferno was brought under control.

Authorities said at least one warehouse and one barn structure were destroyed and that some homes in the area had smoke damage. No deaths or injuries were reported.

The fire at the Third Coast Packaging plant erupted around 1 a.m. and sent flames shooting 800 feet into the air. The flames could be seen more than 10 miles away. A series of explosions rocked the plant and rattled windows in homes and could be heard five miles away.

The plant, located about 20 miles southeast of Houston, houses petroleum based products used in products such as brake and transmission fluids, anti-freeze and motor oils. At one point, 15 of the plant's 90 petrochemical tanks were ablaze. The facility includes a tank farm for storage.

No toxic chemicals were found, officials said.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, the fire was still smouldering, according to a dispatcher with the rural Brazoria County Sheriff's Office. Officials initially feared it would be two or three days before the fire could be extinguished.

Dispatcher Mindy Valusek said police and firefighters were still on the scene Wednesday afternoon and little was known about the blaze. Investigators were attempting to determine the cause of the fire.

The American Red Cross opened at shelter at a community center in nearby Alvin and the local Pearland YMCA offered day-care for children.

Senior Pastor Brian Gigee of St. Stephen Luthern Church in Pearland, who also serves as the vice president of the local ministerial alliance, said he was unaware of any organized local response. He said he knew of some residents who opted not to heed calls by police to voluntarily evacuate their homes.

News reports said one home was destroyed by the blaze but Valusek said the structure was actually a dilapidated barn. One 150,000-square-foot warehouse at the plant was destroyed, according to Houston District Fire Chief Jack Williams. An adjacent building owned by another business was also reported destroyed.

Residents with asthma, emphysema or other breathing problems were advised to stay indoors on Wednesday. State health officials monitored the air quality in the area but reported no major problems.

Related Topics:

CT awards Brownfields grants

DQ hit by Backoff malware breach

Yahoo! latest target of hackers

More links on Technological Disasters

Find this article at:



DNN Sponsors include: