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Fire crews switch to attack mode as they battle Deer Park fire on day 3


DEER PARK, Texas (KHOU)— Officials Tuesday afternoon said they are using offensive tactics to combat the eight tanks that continue burning in Deer Park.

Firefighters continue using foam and water to fight the flames. ITC officials said their primary goal is to contain the fire to the tank farm area.

Ryan Sitton, Commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission, said there is no air quality concern.

“The stuff burning out of those tanks is a gasoline or gasoline blend…but there’s not toxins in there,” Sitton said. “There can be particulates in there, there may be ash that’s coming out, but they’re the same risks you’d have in your backyard fire when you get ash out of that.”

Sitton said there are four agencies — ITC, TCEQ, Harris County and the EPA — monitoring air quality. He said all of the monitors indicate there are no elevated risks.

While acknowledging “the dark cloud of smoke seems ominous,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said there’s “no cause for alarm” as the huge plume from the Deer Park fire spreads west.

The mayor said air quality is being monitored around the clock, with 10 monitors providing hourly updates.

“If we detect any cause for alarm, we will be the first to let you know,” Turner said. 

On day 3 of the massive tank farm fire, emergency responders are still trying to suppress fire on five tanks. Three others have “burnt out” at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in the Deer Park area. Two more tanks that were empty have collapsed. And five tanks have, so far, been spared from the flames.

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