Multiple Storage Tanks on Fire at Deer Park Complex

Video still via social media

By The Maritime Executive 03-18-2019 03:14:37

Six petrochemical storage tanks are on fire at the International Terminal Co. storage farm at Houston's sprawling Deer Park refining complex. The fire began yesterday and spread quickly, and at its peak, seven filled tanks were alight. The affected tanks contain gasoline, xylene, naphtha and lubricant base oil. 

No injuries have been reported, and  the plume of smoke and gas from the fire has been ascending up into the atmosphere, away from residents, according to county officials. That could change later this week, according to meteorologist Jeff Lindner. For now, air quality monitoring shows no significant hazards, and officials have lifted an earlier shelter-in-place order for the surrounding area. Nearby schools were still closed Monday as a precautionary measure.

While several of the tanks are now close to fully burnt out, it could be at least two more days until the fire is entirely under control, according to county officials. The county's fire department is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the response, and it is using foam in an attempt to protect adjacent tanks form the heat and flame. 

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. 

Shell's 2,300-acre Deer Park complex is located on the Houston Ship Channel, and it has been a busy hub for oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing since 1929. Its docks handle loading or offloading for about 2,500 vessels and 100 million barrels of crude every year, putting it in the ranks of the world's busiest liquid bulk terminals.