HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A big step was taken today in determining how the ITC fire started in Deer Park.
We have an exclusive interview with the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office after they made first entry into the burned area at the tank farm, now more than 3 weeks since the fire started.
Fire Marshal’s investigators were able to see and photograph the charred remains of the ITC tank farm for the first time today. The risk of toxic emissions in the air is still so great, that investigators who did go to the scene wore full hazardous material gear and face masks.
The public information officer says the 90-plus degree heat today was an issue with the heavy gear investigators were wearing. They limited each entry to the fire scene to just about 30 minutes.
They conducted the investigation today alongside ITC crews who continue to pump out and remove the remaining contents of the burned tanks.
It’s been 23 days since the fire started. Investigators say they had to wait this long to enter the burned area because of safety concerns.
Investigators say they can not rule out arson, because they haven’t yet identified the origin and cause of the fire.
Rachel Moreno with the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office talked about what they’ve been looking for as they’ve accessed the scene today.
“What they’ll look for first is the origin. They’ll use different scientific methods by doing that. There’s burn pattens, different witness statements that they can start putting together their hypothesis of where the fire might have started.”
Investigators are in a meeting now looking at the evidence they collected today to determine whether they need to go back into the fire scene tomorrow.
Once all evidence is collected, it’ll be presented to the District Attorney’s office, and they’ll decide whether anyone should be charged in the case.
People who believe they’ve suffered a loss due to the ITC incident can file a claim with the company. Instructions can be found at: itcresponse.com.