In Houston area, there are over 2,500 chemical facilities. This is the largest number of chemical facilities per a state in the country. The causes of death at chemical facilities range from falls, heatstroke, injuries caused by equipment, and exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances.
Refineries Do Not Age Well
Some of the refineries in the area are close to 100 years old and are starting to need serious replacements and upgrades. Leakages are all too common and do not often have a smoke signal to warn communities of the danger. Some chemicals are colorless and odorless, making it difficult to notice there is a problem until you start to experience headaches, nausea, or nose bleeds. Even worse, these chemicals are certainly damaging long-term and potential carcinogen.
Facilities that have toxic or flammable chemical accidents have consequences that extend beyond the site. The Environmental Protection Agency calls these areas “vulnerable zones” – meaning areas that could have long-term affects by releases from a chemical accident. There is always the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals that plants use, store, and emit when they produce plastics, pesticides, adhesives, and other products from chemicals.
Factory Fire Spreads into Local Communities
The Deer Park community experienced a devastating fire in March 2019. The fire spread throughout the Intercontinental Terminal Company’s facility igniting 9 of the 15 tanks in the area. And, after it was put out, it reignited several times. A black smoke cloud loomed over the community as the fires continued. Although immediate injuries were limited and short term, there is potential that issues still persist.
The chemical fire released harmful toxins into the atmosphere, including carcinogens like benzene. A containment dike around the facility tank ruptured during these events and spilled more chemicals into the surrounding water. Local officials closed almost seven miles of the shipping channel shutting down economic trade in light of the public health emergency.
Chemical Fires Deteriorate Our Air Quality
The Intercontinental Terminal Company facility fire drew national attention because of the benzene levels in the air and the need to close schools and implement shelter in place orders for days.
If you are among the community members who experienced affects from the ITC tank fire, contact a local attorney right away. As skilled and experienced litigators, the attorneys at Williams Hart & Boundas work hard to protect our friends and neighbors from the impacts of disastrous accidents like this. Call us today for a free consultation and we can talk about how to make sure you are fairly compensated for the damages you have suffered.