The Deer Park chemical facility that caught fire last week has a long history of state and federal environmental violations. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) has been fined for multiple infractions that could have been avoided. In 2008, ITC was fined when a relief valve failed causing 6,745 pounds of unauthorized butadiene to be released into the atmosphere due to the facility's failure to prevent an increase in pressure. The Commission said the event was "avoidable by better operational practices." Butadiene is a carcinogen to humans and is used to make plastics.
Just before 11 A.M. on March 17th, 2019 a chemical plant fire occurred at the Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC, also known as "ITC", which is located near Highway 225 and Independence Parkway in Deer Park, Texas. The blaze continued to burn all day Sunday and has continued into Monday. Emergency crews have continuously worked around the clock to keep the fires contained. Unfortunately, additional tanks subsequently caught fire overnight. Nearby schools were closed for the day as a precaution.
Last week, the Austin Fire Department responded to a reported gas leak in an Austin apartment building linked to the University of Texas. Instead, they found an apartment door with a sign reading "Danger: Watch out, hydrogen sulfide," behind which they found the body of a young man who had apparently died of exposure to the poisonous gas. Six others were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and five others were injured but refused treatment. AFD's initial investigation determined that the deceased individual had released the gas in order to commit suicide.
The Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas is the United States' only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility. It also is charged with maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. Currently, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, over 1,300 people have been made sick or died due to exposure to chemicals and toxins in the plant.
Two weeks ago an explosion occurred in Conroe, Texas at a drilling fluid supplier. Officials have not said what caused the initial fire, if any chemicals washed into nearby water sources, or what chemicals escaped into the air. Currently, the investigation into this incident is ongoing.