PORT ARTHUR — This week was the one year anniversary of a German Pellots Texas silo catching fire in Port Arthur. The silo burned for months and eventually collapsed, the smoke causing health problems for people that live in nearby communities.
"They had fire trucks down there trying to extinguish whatever was burning, but it kept on burning. I said 'well man when they gone put it out,'” Port Arthur resident Ronald Branch said.
Branch, who lives in a community across from the plant says the smoke was inside and outside of homes for months
"It's in everybody’s place. My mother had it all in her drapes and she ended up getting rid of her drapes," Branch said.
A community activist group called the Port Arthur Community Action Network that opposes the factory re-opening has partnered with the Lonestar Legal Aid and together they sent a letter on Monday to the port's executive director and board of commissioners.
In the letter the group states the company should not be allowed to re-open “based on it’s record of operations to date and the number of violations accumulated on air quality, water quality, and as an unsafe workplace.”
"We have to be able to trust them. That they’re going to protect the health, lives, and interest of people in this community," John Beard, spokesperson for Port Arthur Community Action Network, said.
A statement from German Pellets Texas...
“Texas Pellets, Inc. / German Pellets Texas, LLC (“Texas Pellets”) is engaged in a rebuilding process of various components of its Port Arthur, Texas storage and port facility. Texas Pellets is rebuilding and repairing various areas of its storage facility. All wood pellets were removed from the facility as of January 13, 2018. It is expected that rebuilding and restart will be completed in Q4 2018. The facility will be placed back into full operation after this process is completed. Texas Pellets is committed to operating the Port Arthur facility safely and in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and contractual requirements.”