Sheriff confirms containment of fire at Shell Texas chemical plant
According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a fire that occurred at the Deer Park, Texas chemical plant of Shell (LON:RDSa) Plc was under control by 6 p.m. CDT (2300 GMT).
The blaze started on an olefins unit at the Shell facility in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, which resulted in five people being taken for evaluation of potential injuries due to chemical exposure.
Shell said in a statement that the fire began just before 3 p.m. CDT, and the cause of the explosion would be the subject of a future investigation.
A significant column of black smoke could be seen rising from the olefins unit near Highway 225 in southeast Houston. However, by 4 p.m. CDT, all personnel present at the plant when the fire started had been accounted for.
Even though the chemical plant was on fire, sources familiar with the operations of the neighboring Pemex refinery confirmed that activities were ongoing. Pemex released a statement stating that the fire was not in any of its units and that its emergency response team was aiding in extinguishing the fire.
The Houston Fire Department monitored the fire, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality dispatched monitoring units to evaluate the air quality in the region. No shelter-in-place orders were given because of the fire.
Olefins, such as ethylene, propylene, and butadiene, are utilized to manufacture plastics and other goods like detergents and rubber.