Texas Refinery Blaze has Reignited
After downplaying the health and environmental hazards of the massive Deer Park chemical tank fire for nearly a week, the Texas government has sued the facility’s operator for air pollution and ecological damage.
Locals living in the greater Houston area were advised to shelter in place for days, as emergency crews tried to contain the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) tank blaze, which erupted in Deer Park last Sunday and lasted all the way through Thursday – before reigniting again on Friday afternoon.
While residents anxiously waited for authorities to take care of the hazardous fumes, local health and emergency officials kept on reassuring the public that the emergency did not pose any danger to their health or to the environment, even though the blaze destroyed at least 11 above-ground fuel storage tanks.
“There continues to be a low health risk for the general public,” Harris County Public Health continued to insist on Friday, as black clouds of fume from the reignited fire covered large parts of Harris County.
Rejecting public concerns that the ITC fire resulted in leaks of benzene, authorities continue to insist that the local water system has not been contaminated. “The tests revealed no evidence of benzene in the water,” Nicholas Cook, Surface Water Treatment Plant Supervisor, told local news, noting that levels of cancer-causing trihalomethanes showed readings within an acceptable range.
— Lindsey Henry FOX 26 (@LindseyFOX26) March 19, 2019
THIS DOES NOT LOOK GOOD: Water in Houston Ship Channel/Tuckers Bayou is black and there is concern about where the runoff from #ITCfire will go and most importantly WHAT IS IN IT? What about the aquatic life? We are awaiting test results from EPA. #Abc13https://t.co/lbboFVUe8o pic.twitter.com/5i8K4eZ17o
— Stefania Okolie (@StefaniaOnABC13) March 20, 2019
UPDATE: State officials say the foam and components in the water pose no threat to Deer Park drinking water .. #Abc13
NEARLY 3 DAYS LATER: EPA tells me they’re STILL waiting on results for water samples taken from bayou where runoff from #ITCfire ended up. They also could NOT tell us if there’s likely been enough put in to prevent it from getting to Galveston Bay. Live reports start at 3 #Abc13
This is horrible in so many ways. The fish are either suffering horribly or are dead. Any wildlife that drinks from the water, same thing. How about people whose drinking water comes from the river? How certain can they be that it will be safe to drink?
Remember when Christine Whitman told the rescuers at ground zero that the air was safe to breathe? Then after people started getting sick from the air and then they started dying it took congress years before they found money to help them. How many people are going to die from this event? More importantly how many of them are poor and have no health insurance? Because refineries like this are never built in places where rich people live.