Firefighters battle three-alarm warehouse fire

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on September 1, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 1 at 6:55 PM

HOUSTON – Nearby residents expressed concern as firefighters battled a three-alarm warehouse fire for hours Saturday in east Harris County.

Crews from the Cloverleaf Fire Department were called to the Texas Distribution Warehouse in the 13000 block of Industrial Road at about 12:30 p.m.

Texas Distribution Services Inc. is a 200,000 square foot facility that offers “full service, customer oriented professional distribution and export packaging company, offering personalized service, experienced personnel, ample warehouse facilities, and the right equipment for the job,” according to its website.  

Thick black smoke clouded the sky around the area as the large building burned.

“As more and more time went by more smoke kept coming, there were more and more black clouds for two hours straight,” said area resident Rudy Carmona.

Carmona said he also heard explosions.

Firefighters initially had problems getting water on the fire, but ended up pumping it from the river, department officials said.

Houston and Harris County haz-mat, and other fire agencies were called to assist with the blaze.  In all, more than 140 firefighters were involved in the fire.

Though investigators said chemicals from the facility are what fueled the fire, they still don’t know exactly what those chemicals are.

Scientists tested the air and determined that nothing in the smoke or the residue was toxic.

“The Harris County Pollution Control people have done air monitoring throughout the area, all the way to Wallisville Road. So there is not, I repeat, not a need to issue a shelter in place,” said Dough Clough with the Cloverleaf Fire Department.

Firefighters said they expected to continue battling the flames for several hours.

There were employees inside the warehouse at the time of the fire, but no serious injuries were reported, fire officials said.

“At this point, to my knowledge, we have not had any injuries, or any transport from this scene as far as EMS is concerned,” said Gerry Evans with the Houston Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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