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Lake Reflections

ITC Fire

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ITC Fire

Madison Madison, Newspaper editor

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On March 17, a chemical fire was ignited in Deer Park, Texas at the Intercontinental Terminals Company. The fire began in the center of 15 storage tanks that Sunday.

Later, on March 19, fire crews tried to get control over the massive fire, but the blaze of the fire continued to burn for a third day. Officials tried to be offensive against the eight tanks that were on fire. Things such as foam and water were used to try an contain the fire, and to protect tanks and piping.

Finally, on March 20, the flames were put out. But later that day they were reignited at t 5:21 pm. Fire fighters had the flame taken out within minutes. The smoke moved from the east to the west across Houston. This created a smog-like haze over the city. Due to lack of rain and fog, the plume was high above the ground. Elevated Benzene levels from the smoke led to a shelter-in-place for the Deer Park area. Many school districts had closed campuses on March 21 and 22.

On March 22, a dike wall collapsed at the facility leaving more chemicals to be released into Tucker Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel. This led to a lawsuit against the ITC for violation the Texas Clean Air Act. Thankfully, no Benzene was found in the drinking water in Deer Park. Most of Houston ISD cancelled outside after school and weekend activities.

After the heat died down, ITC sent out a false alarm of another flare up in Deer Park. They sent out a message and officials later alerted everyone that the message was sent out by mistake. Students returned to classes and overall people are still recovering.

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