Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle
A fire that broke out Saturday afternoon at Exxon Mobil’s Baytown refinery has been contained by emergency officials.
No injuries were reported, according to a statement from company spokesperson Sarah Nordin.
The company was monitoring air quality but said they did not yet see evidence of “adverse impact.”
The blaze broke out around 12:30 p.m., affecting a unit that the company said processes motor gasoline. It sent a thick cloud of dark smoke into the sky, captured in videos posted to social media.
Exxon and La Porte Office of Emergency Management officials both said that there was no need to find shelter-in-place locations.
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“Pollution Control is still monitoring the air south of the plant around La Porte and Clear Lake with no reading at this time,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
The smoke had spread across much of the Houston skyline and could be seen from miles away. By 4 p.m., it was no longer visible at the site.
Exxon Mobil in its statement said the cause of the fire would be investigated.
“We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community,” the statement said.
Other safety issues have surfaced at the plant at 5000 Bayway Drive in Baytown.
In 2016, a pipeline leak of a highly flammable chemical outside the plant prompted evacuations. It came two months after a shelter-in-place was called due to another release.
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