Flames and fumes rose from the Sound Resource Solutions facility northeast of Houston on Wednesday.
One person was injured at a Houston-area chemical plant that caught fire and sent thick plumes of black smoke into the sky Wednesday for hours before emergency crews managed to knock down most of the flames and hotspots, officials said.
The majority of the fire at the Sound Resource Solutions plant in Shepherd was under control Wednesday afternoon, Emmitt Eldridge, emergency management coordinator for San Jacinto County, told reporters. Officials began to “demobilize” the scene, but firefighters would remain there throughout the night, Eldridge said.
One person injured in the incident is doing well, Eldridge said, without providing details. Geoff Harfield, the chairman of Sound Resource Solutions, said the person had been burned.
“So we’re all just hoping it goes well,” Harfield said. “As long as he’s okay, we can take care of the rest.” Officials hoped the employee would be released from the hospital in the coming hours, he said.
The fire, which started Wednesday morning, prompted officials to ask nearby students to evacuate and residents to shelter in place. Eldridge said preliminary information indicates a worker on a forklift noticed chemicals leaking from a container.
“He went to lift that container up and then he noticed there was a fire near his ignition,” Eldridge said, adding that he could not comment further.
In response to a question about air quality, he said that from
The facility, about 60 miles northeast of Houston, focuses on the recycling and distribution of chemicals, including acids and solvents, the company’s website says.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality conducted a two-day evaluation at the facility in February, Harfield said.
There were “no deficiencies, not even a suggestion of what we could do better,” he said. “The company has tried to be a good manager for 14 years.
“We have a lot of work to do to find out the incident itself, so I don’t want to comment” on that.
A shelter-in-place zone was reduced to a 1-mile radius, emergency management said late Wednesday morning, before being lifted entirely later in the day.
By Wednesday morning, the area under a shelter-in-lace order had been reduced to a 1-mile radius from a 5-mile radius, the emergency management office said. Just a few hours later, officials rescinded it entirely.
As the fire grew Wednesday morning, thick black smoke billowed from the facility as flames continued to burn near the ground, aerial footage from CNN affiliate KTRK showed.