Several town halls planned after fire reignites at Deer Park ITC facility

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Officials provide update on ITC tank fires

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- Cleanup and chemical offloading continue into the weekend at the ITC facility in Deer Park after a number of setbacks on Friday.

The fire reignited in three tanks Friday afternoon. The fire then spread to a ditch next to a containment wall against the tanks. That was just the latest issue. The first issue happened during the morning when a dike holding contaminated runoff from the firefighting efforts broke.

ITC officials say the breach in the wall has been closed, but they're working to strengthen it.

A short shelter-in-place for only industrial neighbors was encouraged and the Houston Ship Channel was then closed from Tucker Bayou to Light 116 due to pollution.

WATCH: Fire returns 5 days after initial blaze at ITC

ITC released the following statement to the media Friday afternoon:

Tanks in the west side of the containment area have re-ignited. This is a developing incident. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.

"Something happens every day and people are on edge. We've got to make sure we take care of people first," said U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, whose Texas House Dist. 29 includes communities near ITC.

She has questions about health and safety, and urges ITC to be forthcoming.

"I think the company, if I would suggest anything, (they) need to be more transparent. They need to let the public know what they are doing," said Garcia. She wants accountability.

Meantime, the Harris County Office of Emergency Management will remain open 24 hours a day until they feel there is no potential for anything to happen.

The company continues to offload chemicals from tanks, and until they are completely empty, the potential for fire and leaks remains.

"We hope this doesn't happen again, but if it does, we are ready to respond," said Francisco Sanchez with the Harris County Office of Emergency Management.

A series of town halls have also been planned over the next few days. Saturday, there will be two town halls regarding the impact of the ITC tank fires.

Community leaders will host a town hall at Rice University at 2 p.m.

The McMillan Law Firm will also host a town hall at 2 p.m., on 4621 Center St. The town hall will answer all questions and concerns regarding the ITC fires.

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