Higher Benzene Levels Detected Near Petrochemical Terminal

Deer Park, Texas, emergency operations officials called for shelter-in-place precautions at 6 a.m. March 21 because of concern about benzene levels from the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company's site.

As of 6 a.m. March 21, the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company's Deer Park terminal near Houston was out, but on-site responders reported increased levels of benzene in the air, prompting the Deer Park Emergency Operations Center to call for shelter-in-place precautions immediately for all residents.

"These levels are below those that represent an immediate risk," ITC's 6 a.m. statement said. "We have notified the surrounding municipalities and out of an abundance of caution Deer Park Emergency Operations Center has called for shelter in place precautions immediately for all of Deer Park. The Deer Park Police Department has notified us that Highway 225 is being closed from Beltway 8 to Miller Cutoff. ITC responders are working actively to reduce the cause that may be responsible for the elevated readings. Emergency responders continue to monitor air quality as ITC coordinates its response with the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Harris County, and other Federal, State, and local agencies."

The statement recommends that anyone with any health concerns or symptoms believed to be related to this incident should contact his or her personal physician or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

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