Firefighters battle 12-alarm fire at chemical plant

No injuries were reported and no workers were on site when the blaze started

Houston Chronicle

WALLER, Texas — A fire at a chemical plant Saturday night lit up the sky northwest of Houston and led to a shelter-in-place order for nearby residents.

Twelve fire departments responded to the fire at the Flowchem facility located on FM 529 in Brookshire, which was eventually contained. No injuries were reported and no workers were on site when the blaze started, said Waller County Judge Trey Duhon, who was at the scene.

"We issued a code red and advised people within a few miles of this facility, from FM 362 to the Waller County line ... to a shelter in place until Hazmat had a better idea of what we were dealing with," Duhon said.

Flowchem produces chemicals that help streamline the flow of oil and other liquids through pipelines. The site stored flammable alcohol-based chemicals and soy bean oil, but the fire did not reach them and no air quality issues were reported, Duhon said.

The fire was first reported around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. The shelter in place order stood until 2 a.m.

Officials have not determined what set the blaze, Duhon said, and the Harris County Fire Marshall is investigating.

Flowchem was founded in 2001 and lists its headquarters as Houston. The company could not be reached for comment Sunday morning.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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