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Port Neches, TX – A massive fire erupted in Port Neches on Thursday afternoon, engulfing a chemical tanker and prompting emergency evacuation orders for nearby residents. The blaze, which broke out around 2:00 PM, quickly spread, creating a hazardous situation that required immediate action from local authorities and emergency responders.

The Incident

The fire began at a chemical storage facility operated by the Port Neches Chemical Plant. Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion before seeing thick, black smoke billowing into the sky. The tanker, filled with highly flammable chemicals, became the center of a rapidly spreading inferno. Emergency services were dispatched immediately, with firefighters from Port Neches and surrounding areas rushing to the scene.

Emergency Response

Upon arrival, firefighters were met with intense heat and flames. Their primary goal was to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjacent tanks and facilities, which also housed hazardous materials. The intensity of the fire, coupled with the presence of volatile chemicals, made the situation particularly challenging.

Port Neches Fire Chief, Mike Anderson, addressed the media, stating, “Our teams are working tirelessly to control the blaze and ensure the safety of the community. The fire is currently contained but not yet under control. We are doing everything we can to mitigate the situation.”

Evacuation Orders

Due to the potential for toxic fumes and further explosions, the Jefferson County Emergency Management Office issued an immediate evacuation order for residents within a one-mile radius of the fire. Local law enforcement and emergency personnel went door-to-door, urging residents to leave their homes and head to designated evacuation centers.

“We understand this is a stressful situation,” said Jefferson County Sheriff, Tom Walker. “However, the safety of our residents is our top priority. We urge everyone in the affected area to evacuate promptly and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.”

Community Impact

The fire has significantly impacted the local community. Schools and businesses within the evacuation zone were closed, and traffic was rerouted to accommodate the emergency response efforts. Many residents expressed their concerns and fears as they hastily packed belongings and left their homes.

“This is terrifying,” said local resident Sarah Collins. “We could see the flames from our backyard, and the smoke was overwhelming. We just grabbed what we could and left as quickly as possible.”

Looking Forward

As the firefighting efforts continue, authorities are closely monitoring air quality and potential environmental impacts. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been deployed to assess the situation and ensure that any potential risks to public health are addressed.

In the coming days, investigations will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire and assess the damage. The Port Neches Chemical Plant has pledged full cooperation with authorities and emergency responders.

Residents affected by the evacuation order are urged to stay informed through official channels and adhere to safety guidelines until the situation is fully under control. The community’s resilience and cooperation will be crucial in overcoming this challenging event and ensuring the safety and well-being of all involved.

As firefighters work to extinguish the blaze and authorities manage the evacuation, the priority remains the safety of Port Neches residents. The situation is ongoing, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

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