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The Latest: Ship channel could stay closed several more days

1 month 22 hours 37 minutes ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 March 25, 2019 10:35 AM March 25, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

HOUSTON (AP) - The Latest on fire damage at a petrochemical storage facility that led to a partial closure of the Houston Ship Channel (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

A U.S. Coast Guard official says it could be several more days before a section of the Houston Ship Channel closed amid cleanup efforts after a fire at a petrochemical storage facility is reopened.

Coast Guard Capt. Kevin Oditt said Monday that officials let one ship pass through the affected area Sunday. Oditt said that ship didn't interfere with the cleanup and didn't get contaminated.

Oditt says additional test runs with four more ships and barges were set to be done on Monday. Crews are cleaning up after products from storage tanks at the facility leaked into the ship channel following the March 17 fire. The tanks contained components of gasoline and materials used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

Intercontinental Terminals Company says it continues emptying the damaged tanks.

9:30 a.m.

Students are returning to school in an area southeast of Houston after a fire at a petrochemical storage facility prompted several days of canceled classes.

Students were back in class Monday in Deer Park, Galena Park and other communities near the International Terminals Company in Deer Park. Classes were canceled because of concerns over air quality near the facility, which caught fire on March 17 and burned for several days.

The fire destroyed or damaged storage tanks that contained components of gasoline and materials used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner. Elevated levels of benzene were detected in the air Thursday, prompting officials to order people to remain indoors.

The fire also led to the closure of part of the Houston Ship Channel. The U.S. Coast Guard says it hopes to have the channel reopened Monday.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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