Galena Park resident angered over lack of alerts regarding harmful odor, company later admits fault

A voluntary evacuation order remains in effect Tuesday night after a truck filled with chemicals started to leak at the Dow Chemical Plant in La Porte, making this the second refinery-related scare in in two weeks. 

Emergency officials are trying to figure what caused Hydroxyethyl Acrylate, an acrylic used in coatings and adhesives to leak from the tanker truck at the plant.

"The tank is venting hydroxy as well, unified command is working on a plan if there were to be a breach of the tank, so that plan is still going to be evolving," said Laurie Christianson, Harris County Fire Marshal.

The Harris County Fire Marshal said although this situation is evolving, there is no major concern of cascading impacts at this time. 


Residents of East Harris County are dealing with two significant chemical leaks within two weeks, the second was at LyondellBasell Industries that took place last week. 

"It makes you frustrated because you just have to sit here and take it, inhale away because you have to breathe, so you have no choice and It make you feel so helpless," said Juan Flores with Air Alliance Houston. 

Flores is also a long-time resident of Galena Park, he tells FOX 26, residents were not warned that the pungent odor in the air could cause health issue.

"This was an exceptional event, it was so strong," said Flores. "There were lots of people complaining about headaches and they were throwing up."

Flores also tells us, some residents decided to leave for a short-time because they could not handle the smell. Others, some of the parents, were worried about their children with asthma.


Galena Park residents now angered over the lack of communication during the chemical leak of Carbon Disulfide, used in items like rubber. 

Last Wednesday is when residents tell us, the smell was noticeable. That following Friday, the company released a statement saying: "While unpleasant, the odor does not pose any harm to our workers or community."

Harris County Pollution Control confirmed with FOX 26 Tuesday, it was only until the source was located the company took responsibility. 

FOX 26 reached out to Harris County Precinct 2, Commissioner Adrian Garcia, about the issue.

"We ask industries to be involved, to be transparent to the extent possible. We know these are active situations," said Garcia. "If we find someone that is intentionally and purposely violating the rules, then we will hold them accountable."