ITC Deer Park facility fire could take 2 days to burn out, officials say

ByJeff Ehling and Steve Campion KTRK logo
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
View every corner across the Houston area
View every corner across the Houston area

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- Just five miles from the plant where a massive fire is burning, a group of young men play basketball at a Pasadena park.

We could see and feel the impact of the Deer Park plant fire for days and possibly weeks, experts say.

"We come out here after work to hoop up, but they cancelled us at work because we're right next to it," Joey Rivera said.

For the second day, thick black smoke hangs over the community.

WATCH: Deer Park plant fire: What's burning and what schools are impacted?

Deer Park plant fire: What's burning and which schools are affected?

"Last night was really bad. It was hard to breathe," Rivera said. "We stayed inside."

"I have concerns for everybody getting sick," Armando Garcia added.

SEE ALSO: What we know about the chemicals burning in the tanks at the ITC plant in Deer Park

The fire has been burning since Sunday around 10:30 a.m. It started with one tank at Intercontinental Terminals Company in La Porte and spread to more. Now six tanks are burning as emergency responders work with foam and water to try and control further spreading.

"We have made some head way in that three of our tanks are still on fire and three are intermittent fires," said Alice Richardson, a spokesperson for ITC. "They flare up, then go down. We make strong headway and we are putting a foam blanket on top."

The company claims testing done by independent contractor CTEH are below levels that would represent a public health concern. But not everyone is confident we're in the clear.

"By looking behind me, you can tell this is not normal, this is not fine," said Corey Williams, policy and research director for Air Alliance Houston. "The only thing preventing this from being a major catastrophe is favorable weather conditions."

Williams says there may be a delayed effect and we could see black particles settling.

"If it gets bad, go inside and seek shelter," Rivera said.


Officials with ITC walk away from the podium as reporters ask questions about the uncontrolled fire at the ITC facility.

RELATED: Health impacts from exposure to chemicals in ITC plant fire

VIDEO: SkyEye shows plume of black smoke hovering over parts of Harris County from ITC fire

Follow Christine Dobbyn on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Steve Campion on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook and Twitter.