What is the danger?
Our first concern is for the safety of our community. We have identified benzene vapor coming from the site of the fire. We knew vapor releases were a possibility and our plan was activated and executed as designed.
Harris County pollution control and the Texas National Guard’s 6th civil support team, Harris county hazardous materials team and City of Houston’s hazardous materials team have set two perimeters at varying distances around the site to identify and analyze air quality readings in real time.
The readings have crossed our very conservative air quality standards, related to OSHA standards, to determine, out of an abundance of caution, there should be a shelter in place in the immediate area, which the city of Deer Park has announced.
We know this is concerning, especially to residents in the area of the shelter in place. We are continuing to monitor to verify if this is a short-term, one-time exposure or a longer exposure. At the level of Benzene, we are seeing now for the current duration it should not cause symptoms even in the area impacted. That said, if you believe you are having symptoms and are sheltered in place, please call 911.
As a precaution, several schools have canceled classes for today.
Deer Park ISD
Galena Park ISD
La Porte ISD
San Jacinto College
SH 225 from Beltway 8 to Hwy 146
What you should do:
Residents are advised to remain indoors and to close all doors, windows and other sources of outside air. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering.
Please continue to monitor the City of Deer Park outlets for updated information.
Full Shelter-in-Place instructions
Per Deer Park’s website, http://www.deerparktx.gov/1722/Shelter-In-Place, instructions for Shelter-in-Place are as follows:
Go Inside Immediately: Seek the nearest enclosed structure, whether it is a house, business, garage or vehicle. If you know of any unattended child in your neighborhood, call them and tell them to remain indoors. Keep any pets inside also. Gather emergency supplies like a portable radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
Close all doors, windows and other sources of outside air. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems and close the fireplace damper to keep chemical vapors from entering. Ceiling fans or rotary fans inside the building can be safely used to keep cool.
Cover any gaps, holes or cracks with wet towels or sheets to prevent vapors from entering your home.
If you have trouble breathing, contact 9-1-1.
Our community’s health and safety is our primary concern. The vast majority of our community is seeing no elevated readings.
We have increased monitoring in the area and will keep our community informed.
For real-time information on readings and public health visit readyharris.org/deerparkfire
Where you can learn more:
Air Quality Data: ReadyHarris.org
Health Information: Harris County Public Health
Fixed Air Monitoring Sites: TCEQ