The La Porte Emergency Management Office has issued an immediate shelter in place order for the residents of the Harris County community. The shelter in place order extends to all residents of La Porte. As part of the emergency order to stay indoors, the Emergency Management Office also directed La Porte residents to immediately turn off their air conditioning systems or units. Emergency Management officials have advised that more information will be forthcoming.
Little information is yet available regarding the situation that has resulted in the immediate La Porte shelter in place order. What is known is that multiple residents of the community in the greater Houston metropolitan area have reported an unusual odor in the air. In conjunction with the odor, residents have additional advised that there appears to be something in the air that is being described as an “irritant.”
At 10:15 p.m., as this informational announcement was being prepared, Emergency Management officials issued a follow-up announcement:
Harris County Pollution Control has responded to conduct air monitoring and assist in identifying the source of the odor. We recommend that you remain sheltered in place at your location until the City issues an All Clear.
On the heals of the issuance of the follow-up communication from Emergency Management, the odor and airborne irritant evidently have been identified as having a hydrogen sulfide odor. This is an odor oftentimes referred to as the “smell of rotten eggs.”
If the airborne substance proves to be hydrogen sulfide, it is important to note that the chemical compound is poisonous. Hydrogen sulfide can be created when acids of different types act on sulfides.
There are currently unconfirmed reports that a release of hydrogen sulfide or some other combination of chemicals has been traced to specific plant in La Porte. These unconfirmed reports indicate that the airborne odor and irritant is occurring as a result of a La Porte Lubrizol chemical plant leak.
The focus at this point in time is not necessarily exclusively on the La Porte Lubrizol chemical plant leak. There are also rumblings about another La Porte chemical plant being the source of what may be a hazardous gas.
Information about the possibility that hydrogen sulfide may be in the air also has resulted in rumblings that the current state of affairs in community may be somehow connected with the La Porte LyondellBasell chemical plant leak that occurred a couple of weeks ago. We do know that 100,000 pounds of acetic acid was released, resulting in the deaths of two workers and the hospitalization of over 40 more.
At the time of the La Porte LyondellBasell chemical plant leak, officials from both the facility and different government agencies stated that the acetic acid leak had been contained within the facility. Officials advised that none of the toxic gas had escaped from the La Porte LyondellBasell chemical plant.
At least one media representative as asked Emergency Management officials whether there is any connection between the incident this evening resulting in a shelter in place order and the La Porte LyondellBasell chemical plant leak that occurred at the very end of July. As of this time, Emergency Management officials have not responded to the inquiry.
If you have any questions about the developing situation, a La Porte chemical plant leak lawyer from The Doan Law Firm is available at (832) 835-0000. During uncertain times such as that now occurring in La Porte, we want to make sure that people in our community have ready access to vital information about securing their interests when health risks may exist.
We intend to keep our La Porte chemical plant leak lawyer hotline live and available to people in the community around the clock. There is not cost associated with a preliminary consultation with a La Porte chemical plant leak attorney.