This Morning’s LyondellBasell Refinery Fire Put Out 19 Hours after Yesterday’s ExxonMobil Refinery Fire

Fire at LyondellBassell Refinery, 12000 Lawndale St., Houston, 77017

News choppers milling around the LyondellBasell refinery at 12000 Lawndale St. this morning, just west of the 610 bridge over the Ship Channel, caught some shots of billowing black smoke and flames at the facility, which have since been put out. The company reports that heavy fuel oil and cleaning fluids burned after a Coker unit caught fire around 10AM for reasons yet unknown.  The Houston fire department suggested until about 11:15 that folks please stay indoors and try not to let in any fumes in nextdoor Manchester, as well as south and west as far as Park Place Blvd. and Broadway St.; students at nearby Chavez High, Deady Middle School, and Rucker Elementary were also included in the shelter-in-place fun.

After burning for about 2 hours, the fire was put out just before noon — not nearly as speedily as yesterday’s fire at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown, which started around 4:40PM and was out by just after 5. That fire’s cause is also unknown; no injuries were reported in either incident.


The LyondellBasell plant was one of the 15 facilities across the country whose union employees hit the picket lines when the United Steel Workers union went on strike last year; the plant resumed normal operations after hammering out a local contract deal in May. The Baytown plant workers considered striking, but decided not to after Exxon implemented new safety protocols.

Photo of fire at LyondellBasell plant near Manchester: KHOU

Booming on the Ship Channel

4 Comment

  • Uggh, this is so terrible. My wife, until last May, worked at a school very close to this (but was not mentioned). The air pollution on normal days is so bad that my wife’s doctor suggested that if we wanted to have children that she should think about changing jobs. It is unrealistic to think that people can ‘shelter in place’ and keep fumes and gasses out of buildings. Are there protocols for turning of HVAC systems? What about the plants and refineries paying for filters for crucial buildings in the area in case of an emergency? The sad thing is that attention is only drawn to the problem when major events happen but perhaps long term effects of living and working in the area are greater but simply tolerated as business as usual. I have said it before but it is worth mentioning; I called the TCEQ and many agencies during my wife’s time working over there about the pollution and they informed me that the area has regularly violated EPA standards and my only option was to ‘vote for people who care about government regulation’ of said pollution. Sounds like a tough project!

  • Maybe you shouldnt live right next to a refinery…

  • @ james- I don’t and my wife never has either. What about the people that do live there by their own choice/or forced by lack of opportunity of education and their children? Surely the children have no say in the matter?Should those children be bussed away from the pollution? Don’t they deserve an education or basic services? I am also talking about the people working in the area to provide these services. If we were to bus the children to areas that were ‘safer’ then that would amount to tacit acknowledgment of the dangers of the area, and that isn’t going to happen because then it might become someone’s responsibility.

  • James, exactly. The point isn’t that we should be trying to stop companies from routinely and courageously openly violating EPA standards as a norm. The goal should be to ensure all companies throughout the entire Houston area can openly disregard and violate EPA regulations at their own whim.
    This way the job creators can keep the cash where it belongs while Houstonians (ie. suckers) pick up the tab for $MM’s in health related expenditures.