Small flash fire erupts at ITC Deer Park facility as cleanup continues
A small flash fire erupted at Intercontinental Terminals Company’s Deer Park chemical storage plant Tuesday as workers took apart one of the tanks in the farm that caught fire in March.
Pre-staged firefighting crews quickly put out the fire. There were no reported injuries and air monitoring during the incident didn’t not show any elevated levels of benzene, officials posted on the Community Awareness Emergency Response, of CAER, Online, a portal maintained by the East Harris County Manufacturer Associations where facilities can post about incidents or events.
The March 17 chemical fire at the ITC facility burned for three days, destroyed 11 of 15 storage tanks and sent chemicals spewing into the ship channel. The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Houston Ship Channel for three days during the cleanup and shipping was restricted for nearly a month, forcing refineries to limit production and constraining shipments.
Many of the tanks contained components that make gasoline. No serious injuries were reported, but elevated levels of the carcinogenic chemical benzene led to several shelter-in-place orders covering Deer Park and the surrounding area.
ITC’s Deer Park terminal is a major petrochemical hub. It has 242 tanks capable of storing 13 million barrels of products.
Since the incident, the company has been working in cleaning and degassing the tanks. On Friday, it announced that within 24 to 36 hours it wound begin deconstruction of one of the tanks, 80-15, which was damaged during the fire, and cautioned of the possibility of “short duration flash fires and increased emissions” during the work.