'It's dangerous': Baytown neighbors want more protection after ExxonMobil fire

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
'It's dangerous': Neighbors react to ExxonMobil fire
ABC13's Brhe Berry speaks with neighbors living near the ExxonMobil plant that caught fire.

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- Just before the lunch hour, the sky over Baytown filled with dark black smoke.

"Big plume of black smoke hanging over your head, and you can kind of smell the chemical in the air a little bit, and yes, it's really dark over there. It looks like it's going to storm, but then I get the shelter-in-place warning and I was like, 'Oh, okay,'" said Michelle Simcox, a resident living near the ExxonMobil plant that caught fire Wednesday.

Living just five minutes from the facility, Abraham Oviedo and his family moved quickly once they heard the shelter-in-place warning.

"Just as a precaution, we closed the windows, the doors and turned off the AC, because it moves around. And I actually went outside to get a recording of it and it wasn't until then that my girlfriend told me, 'You might want to come inside, because we don't know if it's in the air,'" Oviedo said.

Many in town, like Darrell Williams, left thinking, "Here we go again."

"I mean it's just a lot of black smoke. It's dangerous really. I feel for a lot of kids and a lot of families around here," Williams said.

Anyone in Baytown will tell you there is a risk living out there. Still, some say they can't help but wonder if enough is being done to regulate the facilities. Is enough being done to keep everyone safe now and from potential long-term health problems?

"People are going to make money regardless, but you not putting people, life in the front of everything. People can die from it, people get sick," Williams said.


What to do during a shelter-in-place


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