Engineering News

Fire Breaks Out At Houston Refinery
Monday, August 04, 2008

Officials at the Valero Houston Refinery have canceled the shelter-in-place order that was issued for the neighboring Manchester area of east Houston, saying a chemical release is under control.

Four people have been taken to a hospital for evaluation, however, said Valero spokesman Bill Day. No further information on their conditions or possible injuries was available.

The order to stay indoors and keep windows shut was issued this morning after a fire on a sulfur holding tank sent vapor into the air, said Leon McClure, a human resources representative for Valero.

No outside assistance was requested in fighting the fire, which erupted shortly after 7 a.m. and was being handled by Valero personnel.

The plant is at 9701 Manchester, a short distance south of the Houston Ship Channel.

"We are working on containing that leak right now," McClure said. "We have water on the unit right now."

The refinery's units are still in production at reduced rates, Day said.

Valero acquired its Houston refinery in 1997 from Basis Petroleum, Inc. The midsized refinery, which began operating in 1940, is located on 303 acres along the Ship Channel and has access to several major product pipelines, according to a guide book of Houston refineries.

The plant makes gasoline and gas derivatives, McClure said.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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