Massive fire breaks out at Channelview plant

November 9, 2008 5:25:00 AM PST
A massive fire broke out Saturday afternoon at a plant in Channelview. [SEE IMAGES: Viewer photos of the fire]

The call originally came in as an explosion at the Tex-Trude plastics plant on Sheldon near Wallisville Road. Employees were evacuated and the massive fire forced the closure of Sheldon Road.

At least 150 firefighters from 12 different departments were involved. They used tankers because apparently, there was an insufficient supply of water.

Long-time Tex -Trude employees stood there helpless, watching in disbelief.

"That's our family, that's our life right there," said employee Annell Martinez. "We have all worked very hard to put that together and it's just gut wrenching. It just rips your heart out."

Three warehouses full of plastic pellets stored in cardboard and metal containers are fueling the flames. Amazingly the 20 employees who were working at the time escaped unharmed. Vicki Deerman was in her office moments before the fire erupted.

"I heard a pop and I thought, 'Hmm,' so I got ready to leave and walked out the back door. I could see dust or smoke and I said, "This is not good. Then I saw flames immediately behind the main office'," said Dearman.

Even with firefighters from 14 different departments from as far away as Montgomery County, getting the upper hand was difficult.

"They do have a ten inch main coming down Sheldon Road, but there is only one ten inch main. And with as much fire as we had, we did not have the sufficient supply of water," said Mike Battise with the Cloverleaf Fire Department.

As the fire raged into the evening, not all here was lost. Even in the face of disaster, there was something things that can't be destroyed.

"It is for real under control, yes," said Katie Nettles with Tex-Trude.

"You mean I can work there another 20 years?" asked a concerned employee.

"Yes, you may," responded Nettles.

Officials were monitoring the smoke coming from the scene, but we're told it wasn't toxic and there was never a shelter in place ordered.

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