Breaking News
More () »

Reignited Shell chemical plant fire in Deer Park burns for hours

Shell Deer Park said air quality monitoring is still ongoing and that no injuries have been reported.

DEER PARK, Texas — A fire at a Shell chemical plant in Deer Park reignited Saturday afternoon after being extinguished overnight. The fire continued to burn late into Saturday night.

The company issued a statement shortly after 4 p.m. saying the reignited fire does not pose a threat to the community:

"Earlier today, it was announced that the fire at Shell’s Deer Park Chemicals facility had been extinguished. Emergency response crews remained active to monitor for hot spots and at approximately 3:14 p.m., some remaining product reignited. Response crews are responding to the fire and all employees and contractors are accounted for with no injuries reported. 

"Air monitoring is ongoing and has not detected any harmful levels of chemicals affecting neighboring communities. There is no danger to the nearby community, though residents and neighbors will notice black smoke, flaring and, potentially, increased noise from the facility.

"Our priorities remain the safety of people and the environment."

Shell Deer Park later tweeted that air quality monitoring is still ongoing and that no injuries have been reported.

The Deer Park Office of Emergency Management said Saturday night that the situation is still ongoing and that Harris County is still providing response resources.

Deer Park OEM said they will continue to monitor air quality for any possible impacts on the community.

The fire at the Shell Deer Park Chemicals had previously been extinguished and officials continued to monitor the environmental impacts of the fire through Saturday afternoon.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said they have been conducting handheld air monitoring and mobile monitoring with three vehicles in the area. They added that have found no detections of concern in the neighborhoods near the facility.

Nine contractors were released from the hospital Friday night after Shell Deer Park Chemicals said they were exposed to a product during a large plant fire.

The company said the workers received precautionary treatment. No serious injuries were reported.

There was not a shelter-in-place order issued, though the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was monitoring the air quality near the plant.

Shell released a statement around 9:20 p.m. Friday, saying the fire started around 3 p.m. while routine maintenance was being done on the olefins unit. The company's full statement can be read below:

"Shell continues to respond to a fire at its Deer Park Chemicals facility. The fire started around 3 p.m. while the olefins unit was undergoing routine maintenance, igniting cracked heavy gas oil, cracked light gas oil and gasoline.

"All site personnel have been accounted for, including 9 contractors who were released after undergoing precautionary medical evaluations. Air monitoring is ongoing, and has not detected any harmful levels of chemicals. There is no danger to the nearby community.

"Our immediate priorities remain the safety of people and the environment. The cause of the fire will be the subject of a future investigation."

Harris County Fire Marshal Captain James Singleton said his office would work through the weekend investigating the incident.

“You’re looking at a large number of people that need to be interviewed,” Singleton said. “Everyone who was at the unit at the time of the fire, the controllers, management, anybody that called 911."

All employees were evacuated and accounted for. The sheriff said there is no impact to the community beyond the facility.

Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia issued a statement at around 4:43 p.m., which read: 

“My office has been in touch with the Office of Emergency Management, and we have also personally spoken with the plant manager at the facility that has been burning. In addition, the Fire Marshal and Harris County Pollution Control are on site, and we’ve been assured that the situation is under control. All employees at the facility have been accounted for. We urge people to avoid the area to make room for emergency response. There is no shelter-in-place currently in effect.

"Our CAMP (Community Air Monitoring Program) dashboard is operational, and we expect air quality data to start rolling in shortly. Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will provide additional guidance on air quality as needed. As we learn more, we will be sure to share those updates.

"We don’t know the cause of the fire, but a Harris County Fire Marshal investigation will begin as soon as the fire is out. Pollution Control will also remain in the area to continue air monitoring in the days ahead.”

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the county fire marshal's office led response efforts. Multiple agencies responded to the incident.

The La Porte Office of Emergency Management said they were monitoring the situation and don't expect any impacts from the fire in the city.

Here is a map of the area:

Before You Leave, Check This Out