Deer Park residents must stay inside after the Texas chemical fire was put out

A massive chemical fire that filled the sky with smoke and flames for days in southeastern Texas has finally been snuffed out. But its effects could still be dangerous.

The city of Deer Park announced a shelter-in-place order Thursday morning due to concerns about “levels of benzene or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within city limits.”

Both the La Porte Independent and Deer Park Independent school districts said they are closed Thursday.

The La Porte school district said its closure was due to “a change in conditions around the site of this week’s fire, and in an abundance of caution.”

The fire burned over four days at a petrochemical plant in suburban Houston. It was finally extinguished Wednesday.

It began in a single tank at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park on Sunday afternoon and quickly spread to a second tank, the company said.

By Tuesday, seven tanks were burning. The tanks contained chemicals that go into making gasoline, including xylene, naptha and pyrolysis gasoline, known as Pygas.

No serious injuries were reported. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

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