Warehouse fire runoff devastates Spring Branch Creek wildlife

ByLauren Lea KTRK logo
Monday, May 9, 2016
Fire runoff threatens Spring Breach wildlife
Dead animals litter the banks of Spring Branch Creek following last week's four-alarm fire.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Questions remain about what chemicals spewed into Spring Branch Creek after a four-alarm warehouse fire on Thursday. The runoff was blood red because of pesticides and petroleum additives inside the A-1 Custom Packaging facility, killing fish, frogs and snakes in the creek.

"Seeing the dead animals, ugh. There's a soft shell this big that's dead and two yellow-bellied water snakes that are dead, too," Gina Disteldorf said. "That's all from today."

She helped rescue 18 turtles at the creek on Saturday, Texas Parks and Wildlife asked her to stop because she has not had OSHA hazardous materials training.

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"Watching them in there in the red sludge, poke their little heads up and just moving their little legs and trying to breathe and you get down there as fast as you can and they dive back under the water and you're like, 'No! Come back up! You don't want to die!'"

The water was no longer red on Sunday evening, but a distinct smell lingered in the area.

"Smells like gasoline," Disteldorf said. She showered and threw away the clothes she used while rescuing the animals.

On Sunday, caution tape and biohazard signs surrounded the water and piles of dirty clean up materials sat on the bank next to a bag containing dead snakes and a turtle. Exactly what kind of chemicals got into the water was still unknown.