Air monitoring ongoing following large fire at chemical plant near Houston: Official

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(HOUSTON) — A massive fire at a chemical plant near Houston Wednesday prompted a school evacuation and a warning for residents to shelter in place, according to authorities.

There was an explosion at the plant in the town of Shepherd just after 8 a.m. local time Wednesday, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers.

The fire is now contained, and a large majority is out, Emmitt Eldridge, the emergency management coordinator with the San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management, told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

Fire crews will remain on-site in case of any flareups, he said.

Ongoing monitoring has not found any chemicals in the air at this time, Eldridge said.

All employees at the plant are accounted for, with only one worker suffering a minor burn injury, according to Sound Resource Solutions, which owns the plant. There were 19 employees in the building at the time, Capers said.

A private school with 31 children was evacuated near the plant, according to the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.

The shelter-in-place for the surrounding area has since been lifted, according to Polk County Emergency Management. However, the agency did ask people to “limit all unnecessary outdoor activity” in the wake of it being lifted.

Dark black smoke could be seen billowing from the plant earlier Wednesday. Capers said flammable liquids and diesel were burning.

Shepherd is about an hour north of Houston.

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