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Huge Fire at Texas Chemical Facility Prompts Warning to Residents

Authorities described the blaze in Waller County, west of Houston, as a 12-alarm fire and told residents to shelter in place.
View of a fire at a chemical facility in Waller County, Texas, on July 4, 2015.
View of a fire at a chemical facility in Waller County, Texas, on July 4, 2015.Waller County OEM

Authorities in Texas told residents to shelter in place Saturday after a 12-alarm fire broke out at a chemical facility west of Houston.

The fire broke out at Flowchem, a company that makes a pipeline additive using synthetic rubber, at around 9:15 p.m. and it swelled to 12 alarms, said Brian Cantrell, emergency management coordinator for the Waller County Office of Emergency Management.

Authorities told residents within a two-mile radius of the facility west of Houston to shelter in place as a precaution, Cantrell said.

"It’s in a very rural area, which is fortunate," Cantrell said. There was no one inside the plant when the fire broke out, he said.

A hazardous material team from the Harris County fire marshal’s office is conducting air monitoring around the scene of the blaze, Cantrell said.

The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said 10 firefighting and emergency response agencies were on the scene of the fire. The fire was still burning shortly after midnight Sunday morning, but firefighters expected to have it out in the next few hours, Cantrell said.