Houston petrochemical blaze extinguished, says ITC

A fire at a Mitsui & Co petrochemical storage site outside Houston, which had been emitting a plume of acrid smoke for days, was extinguished on Wednesday March 20th, Intercontinental Terminals Co has said.

Fire crews continued to spray foam and water on the tanks to help keep them cool and to prevent any fires flaring up again, the Mitsui unit said.

It added that no serious injuries had been reported.

The fire had begun on Sunday March 16th when a single leaking tank containing naphtha, ignited. The flames quickly spread to other tanks, ITC said. By Tuesday morning, the fire had ignited 12 of 15 tanks.

The tanks each hold up to 80,000 barrels, (3.3m gallons), of volatile liquid fuels, which made the faire hard to extinguish.

State and federal monitors said air quality was safe. Environmental groups disagreed and said they would conduct their own monitoring.

Some of the water and chemicals washed into the adjacent Houston Ship Channel, which links the Gulf of Mexico to Houston.