Shelter-in-Place Issued After Texas Chemical Fire

Credit: Newsy Studio
Published on March 21, 2019 - Duration: 01:08s

Shelter-in-Place Issued After Texas Chemical Fire

Officials issued a shelter-in-place warning for areas near the Intercontinental Terminals Company due to elevated levels of benzene in the air.

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Shelter-in-Place Issued After Texas Chemical Fire

The fire that engulfed a Houston-area petrochemical storage site this week has finally been put out.

But residents living near the facility aren't in the clear just yet.

On Thursday, officials issued  a shelter-in-place warning  for areas near the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park due to elevated levels of benzene in the air.

The National Guard and hazardous materials teams have also set up perimeters around the site so they can monitor the air quality in real time.

According to the CDC , benzene is a colorless, highly flammable liquid with a sweet odor.

It can come from volcanoes and forest fires and is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke.

But too much contact with benzene can be dangerous.

It can cause cells not to work correctly, resulting in anemia or immune system damage.

And chronic exposure can even lead to cancer.

The blaze started Sunday and quickly spread to storage tanks containing materials that go into nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

No serious injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, and the cause is still under investigation.

Additional reporting from  Newsy affiliate CNN .

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