Massive Houston petrochem fire burns for second day, could burn for two more
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DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- It could take two days for a fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company Deer Park facility to burn out, company officials said during a press conference Monday morning.
The flames spread overnight. Seven tanks are affected. Earlier in the morning, officials said the fire involved eight tanks, however, one of them was emptied beforehand.
La Porte ISD has canceled classes for March 18 out of an abundance of caution as a result of the fire.
Company officials say the first tank that caught fire contains NAPHTHA, a component in gasoline. The fire then spread to a second tank containing XYLENE, another gasoline component. Another tank that caught fire contains Toluene, which is used in nail polish remover, glue and paint thinner, plant officials told Eyewitness News.
Saw this thing driving north from Galveston yesterday. At first I thought it was a controlled burn or some other big fire just a few miles away. Until I got onto a large overpass and could see it was many miles east. The scale of this fire is massive.
Those four pictures should help you grasp the scale of this thing.
naptha, xylene and toluene in large underground tanks? shit we need those oil well extinguishing tanks
People with asthma must be really hurting.
Better start building a new cancer clinic in Houston now. By the time planning, zoning, and construction are finished and it's ready to open it'll be needed thanks to this.
When I thought Houston smelled bad enough..
Got you covered fam
New medical research center to bring 30,000 new jobs to Houston ..
I remember reading years ago that naphtha can be carcinogenic due to benzene. Not sure if it was ever confirmed, but I'd certainly want to stay away from that shit.
So that explains the near 3 dollar gas prices.
That's a lot of smoke.
The fire has spread to more tanks. Official estimate of when this will burn out is now: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I work with derivatives of these chemicals and they are very nasty. Commonly people will think that because it's in every day things that it's fairly safe but the damage fused arenes can do is astonishing.
We have to do safety checklists before starting work with chemicals and the aromatic compounds are always a pain because of how many dangers have been reported.
Pictures show the runoff into nearby waterways, a big concern for those who make their living from the Ship Channel and Galveston Bay.
Looking nastier than usual
Why are these plants anywhere near densely populated areas, and rivers??
The ship channel is a dredged out bayou used to import and export petroleum products and other cargo.
It's one of those things that years ago it seemed like it was a pretty good place to import stuff. Then people come to work there and cities pop up and next thing you know it's surrounded by a city. Urban sprawl in Houston is really bad. But back then Texas was it's own country and the Galveston Bay was a popular place to import and export goods like cotton and pelts and other old-timey stuff. This all predates the city of Houston which didn't start growing rapidly till after the Hurricane of 1900 destroyed Galveston, where the big port and business sector used to be. They dredged out the Bayou and the Bay to build up the coastal wall in Galveston and that opened it up to bigger ships, and businesses wanted to import goods further inland after the Hurricane so they settled in the channel. Houston grows around it and you're where we are now.
Pretty much the same fate all coastal/river port cities suffer eventually. It's kinda like a much smaller scale of the River Thames. The distance from Houston to Deer Park is about the same as London to Tilbury. Except our region just happens to be a global oil hub so a huge part of the river is oil/chem storage. There's also a lot of stuff outside the ship channel, too. We got at least two other cities on the Galveston bay basically dedicated to oil.
Is there any estimation on the human cost of this event?
Is this going to straight-up kill people near it? Cause illnesses? Somehow make people healthier?
zoning? I always assumed zoning in texas involved just going to the site and declaring your intent to build there, be it a chemical plant in a residential area or a toxic waste dump next to a school
Only Houston doesn't have zoning in Texas(out of major cities). Austin, Dallas, San Antonio all do. Though Houston has some ordinances and regs that dictate what you can do in certain areas.
It came back
Hundreds of thousands will suffer both through short-term effects and long-term effects, such as cancer, and there will be no punishments for anyone responsible, as per usual.
Just my guess.
Because that puts them next to two key resources they need: workers, and shipping lanes. If you put these plants out in the middle of fuckville, you have:
* People having to commute farther than they otherwise would, with some having to commute with personal vehicles instead of public transit(A big issue for people like who who are super super concerned about CO2 emissions; closer the plant and workforce are in relation to one another the fewer miles people drive and the fewer cars they need to get there)
* Transporting raw materials in becomes more expensive and far riskier. Putting a petrochem plant close to the bay minimizes the miles of pipeline and/or truck traffic needed to supply the plant with the resources it needs to function.
* Transporting finished product out is also easier, for the same reasons. It's more economical, safer, greener, to send 55,000 gallons of finished gasoline to the northeastern states by putting it in a tanker ship and sending that along the coastline than it is to put it into a fleet of trucks.
You shouldn't be questioning why the plant is where it is. You should be questioning which dingus disobeyed a safety rule to cause the fire to start. IF the plant runs by-the-book it's no less safe than an office job, but when people start cutting safety corners at a facility like that you get shit like this.
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