PORT NECHES, Texas — Small fires from inside the TPC Group plant in Port Neches continues to burn 10 days after massive explosions, according to a Saturday morning news release from the Port Neches Response team. 

"Response efforts continue to focus on activities to secure site equipment and minimize impact to the environment, while preserving the safety of emergency responders," the news release said. 

Work continues to contain small fires in the impacted area of the plant. The fires were reportedly anticipated, residual fires. 

Officials expect to reopen Grigsby Avenue at Spur 136 before Port Neches students return to school Monday, Dec. 9, TPC's Unified Command response team said in a second news release Saturday, Dec. 7.

The road has been closed for repair since Nov. 27, the release said.

Crews are digging a trench to hold an encased hose carrying water to fight the fires to prevent disruptions to traffic on the road. This project is to be finished this weekend.

Air monitoring continues to be a concern for people living in Port Neches, Nederland and Port Arthur after elevated levels of butadiene was detected earlier this week. 

The response team said there was "no actionable" butadiene levels detected and noted that in the last 24 hours, there have been 3,531 air monitoring readings collected. 

All readings were below action levels, the news release said. 

"Occasional elevated air measurements may continue to register as response teams secure the site," the response said noted. "As a reminder, short-term exposure to concentrations less than 10 ppm for one hour or less is not expected to produce health effects other than mild, reversible irritation. Breathing or inhaling airborne butadiene can cause sensory irritation or temporary discomfort and nuisance-type health impacts."

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The Port Neches response team says that nearly 200 claims representatives remain at the site. 

Field claim adjusters are in the field from 8:00 a.m. to one hour before sundown daily in the areas of highest impact.

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News Release # 20 Saturday Morning Update

Beaumont, Texas – Unified Command reports ongoing response efforts at TPC Group Port Neches Operations remain focused on safely bringing the event to an end.

Situational update: There have been no significant changes in the response efforts since Update #19. Response efforts continue to focus on activities to secure site equipment and minimize impact to the environment, while preserving the safety of emergency responders. Friday morning, Unified Command identified small fires in the impacted area on site. These small residual fires were anticipated and are being contained. Response teams continue to monitor and assess. Smoke may be visible.

As reported previously, the fire at TPC Group Port Neches Operation on November 27 impacted 12 tanks on site. Plans are underway to safely transfer all remaining materials from the site, based on mechanical integrity inspections of tanks. All tanks containing materials are being evaluated and prioritized for transfer. To further secure and safely transfer remaining materials from the site, technical experts with TPC Group will introduce inhibitors to stabilize materials being transferred. Options to safely transport materials from the site are being assessed.

Air Monitoring update: Air monitoring around the site and in the community continue to show no actionable butadiene levels. Unified Command, comprised of federal, state, local agencies and TPC Group, remains diligent in efforts to monitor air quality. Monitoring coverage, by various state, federal, local agencies, extends throughout the county and is providing real-time air quality data to Unified Command.

Occasional elevated air measurements may continue to register as response teams secure the site. In the last 24-hours, experts have collected 3,531 air monitoring readings in the community. All readings were measured below action levels.

As a reminder, short-term exposure to concentrations less than 10 ppm for one hour or less is not expected to produce health effects other than mild, reversible irritation. Breathing or inhaling airborne butadiene can cause sensory irritation or temporary discomfort and nuisance-type health impacts. Butadiene levels detected near the facility and in the community throughout the course of this event have remained far below levels that could contribute to long-term health risk.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency, is still onsite as a third-party resource dedicated to reviewing the environmental data provided by Unified Command and will communicate findings once they are available.

Claims activities update: Approximately 200 claims representatives, including call center operators, field claim adjusters and claims processors, remain in the area. Field claim adjusters are in the field from 8:00 a.m. to one hour before sundown daily in the areas of highest impact. Claims are divided into two general categories: (1) evacuation-related claims cover lodging and meals/incidental expenses and (2) property/personal property damage claims cover damages to homes and other personal property.

To make an appointment, please call 866-601-5880 to make an appointment or visit one of our two Claims Processing Centers, locations at 511 Grigsby Ave. in Port Neches or 250 Dowlen Rd. in Beaumont. Claims are being processed at the Claims Processing Centers daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please be aware, walk-in wait times are long.

Evacuation claims information: To get a head start on the Evacuation Claim Form, residents may click on this link and complete the form online and submit supporting documentation. This form is for residents who were in designated evacuation areas and have not already completed an Evacuation Claim Form with a claims representative.

Please note, to make an appointment to process your evacuation claim, you must call (866)-601-5880. Completing the online form does not mean you have an appointment. However, completing the form in advance will help expedite the claims process upon arrival at the Claims Processing Center.

Property claims information: Claims adjusters are conducting damage inspections in the high impact areas. Claims processing center personnel are making calls and scheduling appointments for the medium and low impact areas. Residents are requested to have the following information with them when submitting property-related claims (by phone or in-person):

  • A Photo ID (driver’s license, passport, U.S. Military ID) and oneof the following address verification documents for adults listed in the household is required:
    • Mail, lease/mortgage payment, utility bill, voter registration card, property tax records

The helpline continues to experience a high volume of calls. We sincerely appreciate callers’ patience and understanding. A claims process handout is available for download on www.portnechesreponse.com.

Updates and information continue to be posted on the web at www.portnechesresponse.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/portneches.response.1 and on Twitter at PortNechesUC.