HOUSTON: US firefighters continue to tackle a huge blaze at a Texas chemical plant that erupted on Sunday and has continued to burn since then.
The fire started Sunday morning at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, about 24 kilometers southeast of Houston, and continued burning since then.
Following the incident, the officials issued a shelter-in-place directive.
A large flash of fire rose from the ITC facility in Deer Park Tuesday night as four tanks remained ablaze more than 55 hours after fire began.
A number of districts are cancelling classes and after-school activities due to the fire and massive smoke plume.
On Tuesday, various officials stood firm on the public safety aspect of the large plume of black smoke hovering over southeast Texas.
Despite the various chemicals being burned, both state and ITC officials said there was nothing toxic in the smoke in spite of reports of small debris falling.
"The water pressure has been restored and responders have been able to fully resume their efforts to fight the fire," officials said.
During a press conference held Tuesday morning, the ITC apologised to the community for the incident.
"This isn't an event we wanted or planned.
Many of my employees work in the city of Deer Park, they live in Deer Park, they're out there fighting this fire the best they can," ITC spokeswoman Alice Richardson explained.
"They are residents. I would guess that probably 30 per cent live in Deer Park in La Porte. They're concerned. Their families are concerned, so of course ITC would apologise to any of them," Richardson continued.
The company claims testing done by independent contractor CTEH are below levels that would represent a public health concern.
Officials initially said on Monday that it could take two days for the crews to extinguish the flames.
But since the fire intensified overnight, officials later said that they're unable to give a timeline on how long it will take for the fuel and gasoline products in the tanks to burn off.