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OR&R Responds to Chemical Fire Near Houston

People in pollution masks on a boat.
The Environmental Protection Agency conducts water sampling and air monitoring in an area impacted by Benzene after a chemical fire in Houston on March 17, 2019. Images credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

MARCH 27, 2019 — On March 17, 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard notified NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration about a tank farm fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) Deer Park facility near Houston. The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal on-scene coordinator for the incident. EPA has conducted, and continues to conduct, ground level air monitoring. Emergency responders extinguished the fires.

OR&R’s scientific support coordinator for the region has been on scene to provide support to the Unified Command that consists of the EPA, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Harris County Pollution Control Services, ITC, and U.S. Coast Guard on chemical properties, response options, and resources at risk. Other NOAA team members have provided weather, modeling, and chemistry support. OR&R is also coordinating with other state and federal agencies to assess potential impacts to natural resources.