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.
- Huge fire extinguished at LyondellBasell plant in SE Houston [KPRC]
- Massive fire extinguished at ExxonMobil plant in Baytown [KPRC]
- Previously on Swamplot: Where All Those New Chemical Plants Are Going; Today’s Odor in Baytown Is Brought to You by ExxonMobil
Photo of fire at LyondellBasell plant near Manchester: KHOU