Hazmat investigation underway at Harvest Fuels company in southeast Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A few workers on the scene identified the company as Harvest Fuels, based in The Woodlands.

"We were called out here after residents complained of being exposed to odors they felt were toxic and causing health effects," said Alex Forrest, chief of the environmental division in the Harris County District Attorney's Office

For the past two weeks, residents near the Harvest Fuels property have called Houston Fire Department and complained of a toxic smell in the air.

At least one resident had to go to the hospital.

"It actually was strong, and each time when we drive, we smell it," said nearby resident Alberto Romero. "Something's always smelly."

Houston police brought out environmental contractors to take samples and test for toxicity.

Harvest Fuels workers who did not want to identify themselves said the smell came from the cleaning out of fracking tanks located on the property.

Workers said they did not see what the big deal was, considering they were just cleaning out some storage tanks.

Houston police Det. Patrick Morrissey saw it differently.

"We believe it's possibly being improperly stored but we're still investigating," he said.

Investigators were expected to be on the scene through most of the day.

Charges are not expected to be filed immediately, because the investigation is far from over.

"Unless you are permitted to release air emission, it's illegal. We don't have any evidence that the company we're looking at has permits and we think these emissions are illegal and they are causing health effects," said Forrest.

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