Houston region experiences several air quality and emissions events in May

The Houston area has experienced a significant number of air quality events in the last couple of weeks:

  • On May 2, a fire broke out at a Metton America plastics fabrication plant in La Porte. Firefighters, along with Harris County Hazardous Materials Response Team and Harris County Pollution Control were called to the  plant after it was confirmed a tank that contained dicyclopentadiene (a chemical used in paints, varnishes, insecticides and as a flame retardant in plastics) was a part of the blaze. No shelter-in-place was ordered and no injuries were reported.
  • On May 4, at least two homes in the Second Ward were damaged after a massive warehouse fire spread across two city blocks. Because the warehouse was believed to have contained mattresses, the Houston Fire Department commented that the fumes were likely to be toxic and hazardous to human health.
  • On May 8, a mineral oil fire ignited at a CenterPoint Energy substation in Texas City. The fire reignited the following day due to the high temperature of a transformer that had exploded during the previous day’s fire.
  • On May 19, twenty-one people were hurt when a valve malfunctioned and caused an explosion and fire at Kuraray America Eval’s Pasadena chemical plant.
  • On May 28, a shelter-in-place order was issued for people within a 1-mile radius of a large fire in south Houston. The fire ignited at National Container Group, a firm that cleans chemical containers for use. The order was lifted nearly three hours after firefighters responded to the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.