March 18, 2019

2 Min Read
Storage Tanks Catch on Fire at Texas Chemical Facility
A view of the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) facility in Deer Park, TX. Image courtesy of Google Maps

A large fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) bulk liquid petrochemical storage terminal in Deer Park, TX on Sunday forced officials to order area residents to shelter-in-place and led to the shutdown of a nearby section of highway, local news organizations reported.

The blaze at the chemical facility ignited at about 10 a.m. Sunday and initially involved two storage tanks. Flames spread to eight bulk storage tanks at the site overnight and the fire was still burning as of Monday morning.

press release issued by ITC on Monday noted that the first two tanks to catch on fire on Sunday held naphtha and xylene, two products made from gasoline. As the flames spread to other tanks, additional chemicals started to burn. 

“The chemicals in the newly-involved tanks are gas blend stocks used in the production of finished gasoline, and base oil commonly used as machine lubricants,” ITC stated. 

No injuries have been reported during the incident and all ITC workers at the facility have been accounted for. Air monitoring conducted around the facility showed that no harmful levels of chemicals were present in the area and officials lifted the shelter-in-place order early Monday morning. 

“Low levels of particulate matter have been detected,” a statement by ITC printed by ABC News affiliate KTRK said. “A single volatile organic compound detection has been found six miles southwest of the facility. These readings are currently well below hazardous levels.”

The company said it is “coordinating its response” to the fire with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Coast Guard, Harris County officials, and a variety of other local, federal and state agencies. 

ITC’s facility has a bulk liquid storage capacity of more than 13 million barrels. The Deer Park terminal features a private storage rail spur that can handle 500 cars, 242 storage tanks, five tanker ship berths, ten barge docks, and tank truck loading and unloading racks across the site, according to information on the company’s website. Products handled at the site include chemicals, petroleum, and some gases.

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