Houston petrochemical tank fire extinguished

The massive petrochemical fire near Houston had burned itself out as of Wednesday morning as investigators tried to determine what caused the blaze that burned for more than 3 days.

No one was injured in the damaging fire before it was finally extinguished.

One report indicated a worker at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. at Deer Park first noticed smoke rising from a chemical storage tank and within a half hour “it was roaring up.”

He suspected parts of the tank might have overheated and a safety mechanism that can turn over the tanks might have not been enough to prevent the fire. 

“Everyone thinks a tank overheated,” said the worker who didn’t want his name revealed.

Video of the initial incident on Sunday showed flames on the ground between several tanks.

The fire ignited around 10:30 a.m. and first spread to a tank containing naphtha on the industrial grounds about two miles north of Texas 225 near the Battleship Texas State Historic Site and Buffalo Bayou.

The blaze churned through the terminal, engulfing as many as eight units at one point and sending a massive plume of black smoke drifting across the Houston area and stretching northwest of the city.

The fire surged again late Monday as a loss of water pressure hampered firefighting efforts. By late Tuesday, the plume lost much of its height and volume even as the fire was expected to continue through Wednesday.

The company’s storage facility along the Houston Ship Channel contains 242 tanks capable of holding petrochemical liquids and gases, including oil products. It has been located in the channel area for the past 47 years alongside several energy-producing corporations synonymous with Houston.

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