Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle
Teams were working to put out a fire that broke out Saturday afternoon at Exxon’s Baytown refinery, drawing attention from across Houston.
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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The La Porte OEM first posted notice of the fire on Facebook shortly after 1 p.m.
Officials said they were aware of the fire and were in contact with company officials and the Baytown and La Porte fire departments.
“We are aware of the fire at the Exxon plant in Baytown and Harris County is ready to assist int he event that extra resources are needed,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted.
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.
ExxonMobil 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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