Over the weekend, a fire erupted at a petrochemical plant outside of Houston, and Tuesday, a large black plume of smoke continues to defile the skies around the Deer Park suburb of 33,000 people in east Harris County. The Houston Chronicle reports that some residents say the threat of chemical fires is “just what you accept” as part of living near the Houston Ship Channel, where millions of cubic meters of petrochemicals are transported and stored.
Matt Dempsey is a data editor for the Houston Chronicle investigations team, and says it’s still unclear what started the fire, and he expects it to burn for a least another day or two, especially because two more tanks caught on fire Monday night.
“I think it’s unlikely that anyone will have a good idea of what the cause is until the fire settles down and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office[‘s] investigators have a chance to get on the scene,” Dempsey says.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– What chemicals are inside the storage tanks that are burning
– How the company that owns the tanks has violated environmental regulations in the past
– Why the smoke from this fire likely won’t be toxic for most people
Written by Caroline Covington.