U.S. Chemical Safety Board Investigators Headed to ITC Deer Park Petrochemical Plant
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying a team to the Houston Metro Region, a sign that investigations into the massive fire at the ITC Deer Park petrochemical plant are beginning to gain momentum.
CSB Investigates Root Cause of Major Chemical Disasters
The CSB announced it would investigate the ITC Deer Park fire on Thursday.
According to the Houston Chronicle, one investigator has already arrived in the Houston area. Two others will arrive next week once the ITC Deer Park petrochemical plant is accessible.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency that determines the root cause of major chemical disasters at plants and refineries throughout the United States. Although it has no power to levy fines, the Board does make recommendations to prevent similar incidents.
Benzene Leak Reported at ITC Deer Park Petrochemical Plant
The ITC Deer Park petrochemical plant fire began on St. Patrick’s Day, and eventually engulfed 11 above ground storage tanks containing toluene, xylene, naphtha and other chemicals used in the production of gasoline.
The fire burned for days, creating a plume of thick, black smoke that stretched all the way to Waller County. Although crews extinguished the blaze by Wednesday morning, a flash fire briefly erupted from the site later that afternoon.
Residents of Deer Park and Galena Park sheltered-in-place for a second time Thursday morning, after a benzene leak at the plant led to worsening air quality.
Although officials lifted the second order just 7 hours later, several areal school districts chose to close today as a precaution.
Health Complaints Raise Doubts Over Air Quality Reassurances
The ongoing disaster has obviously created immense anxiety for those who live and work in the Houston Metro Region.
Many have reported nose bleeds, headaches, vomiting, and other symptoms possibly related to the hydrocarbons involved in the ITC fire. Those chemicals can also cause long-term health problems, including cancer, blood disorders, brain damage, and liver and kidney problems.
The mounting health complaints haven’t helped to ease doubts about the area’s air quality.
“Everything has been wrapped up in this nice perfect bow in saying that there were no problems,” one woman told the Associated Press. “Every air quality was perfect. Every wind was perfect blowing it away. And if everything was so perfect, why did it happen?”
“It’s pretty harrowing,” a chemist who lives within five miles of the ITC Deer Park plant said.
“I work with benzene … science has told us that it’s a well-known carcinogen,” he continued. “The plume is gone, but the benzene in the air is lingering.”
Top Houston Plant Explosion Attorney Addresses ITC Claims Process
ITC has announced a claims process for individuals who suffered injuries and losses related to the Deer Park petrochemical fire.
Anyone who accepts compensation through ITC’s “claims process”, however, is PERMANENTLY BARRED from later filing a lawsuit to hold the company responsible for serious (or even fatal) medical conditions that develop in the future, including cancer and chronic respiratory distress.
“What happens if you accept $1,000 because that covers your medical bills today, but then in three months from now you’re diagnosed with Leukemia?” Ryan Zehl asked during a recent interview with ABC 13.
Before signing anything from ITC, Mr. Zehl urged potential claimants to have their symptoms evaluated by a doctor, and then speak with an attorney to ensure their rights are protected.
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Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers have been contacted by hundreds of people with questions about the ITC Deer Park petrochemical plant fire, and will continue to post updates as new information is made available.
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