PORT NECHES, Texas — Officials say elevated levels of 1, 3-Butadiene were detected in Port Neches in the area of the TPC Group Plant late Wednesday night causing them to issue a shelter in place and later a voluntary evacuation for Port Neches residents. On Thursday morning, County Judge Jeff Branick confirmed that the voluntary evacuation remains in place until further notice.
A temporary shelter for those needing a place to stay was set up at Ford Park Arena, 5115 Interstate 10 S, Beaumont.
Wind was expected to shift directions last night, and high humidity should keep the vapors close to the ground according to Jefferson County Emergency Management officials.
A Facebook post from the Port Neches Police Department reported decreased levels of butadiene overnight. The highest levels detected remain in the Earl street, Merriman and Seabrook areas. Some areas being measured do not pose a serious health risk but may cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, irritated eyes and throat.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you are encouraged to leave your location. The post says any of these symptoms experienced are reversible and will not have long term effects.
Current levels don't pose a flammability or explosion risk according to officials.
Port Neches-Groves ISD has canceling school for the remainder of the week according to a district official.
A call for a shelter-in-place was made just after 6 p.m. Wednesday by Port Neches Fire Chief Paul Nelson. A Port Neches Response news release says it was made out of an 'abundance of caution.'
Statement from the Jefferson County Emergency Management at 7 a.m. 12/5/2019
Voluntary evac will remain in place. Monitoring has been conducted overnight and although levels are lower, they are still detectable. Highest levels are still in the Earle/Merriman/Saybrook areas. We will update when conditions change.Please be sure to look at official social media pages. There are many people purposely posting false information.
Full Statement from The Stan at 6:54 a.m. 12/5/2019
Voluntary evac will remain in place. Monitoring has been conducted overnight and although levels are lower, they are still detectable. Highest levels are still in the Earle/Merriman/Saybrook areas. We will update when conditions change.
Officials told 12News the reason for the spike in levels is crews are spraying water on the equipment, causing it to shift. The fire was extinguished Tuesday— 7 days after two major explosions rocked homes and businesses in Jefferson County.