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9 Hospitalized After Fire at Shell Chemical Plant Near Houston: Sheriff

9 Hospitalized After Fire at Shell Chemical Plant Near Houston: Sheriff

Fire erupted at a petrochemical plant in the Houston area Friday, sending nine workers to a hospital and causing a huge plume of smoke visible for miles.

Emergency responders were called to help around 3 p.m. at the Shell facility in Deer Park, a suburb east of Houston. The city of Deer Park said in an advisory that there was no shelter-in-place order for residents. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said earlier in the day that five contracted employees were hospitalized for precautionary reasons, adding that they were not burned. He said they were taken to a hospital due to heat exhaustion and proximity to the fire.

Shell Deer Park officials said on Twitter Friday night that they were continuing to respond to the fire, all workers were accounted for and nine workers had been released after undergoing precautionary medical evaluations.

Nothing exploded, Gonzalez said, although the sheriff’s office initially responded to emergency calls saying there was an explosion.

As of Friday evening, the fire was still burning but had died down and was contained, Gonzalez said.

The cause of the blaze was still being investigated. The fire started while the olefins unit was undergoing routine maintenance. Air monitoring for any impact from the fire was ongoing, and had not detected any harmful levels of chemicals, Shell Deer Park said.


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