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High Tech Finishing Warehouse Fire

Site Contact:
Idrissa Ouedraogo


Site Location:
6218 Royalton Street
Houston, TX 77081
NRC#: 1367750

On May 20, at approximately 4:40 a.m., an active warehouse fire was reported at the High Tech Finishing warehouse in Houston, TX due to unknown causes. The facility is an electroplating facility for airplane interiors parts, and is not designated as an RMP facility. The fire was extinguished around 5:45 a.m.  Houston Fire Department is removing part of the building using heavy equipment to access the hotspots inside the building. Approximately 0.25-mile radius shelter-in-place order was issued by the Houston Fire Department due to elevated levels of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) and firewater was applied to reduce the level of particulates in the air. The shelter-in-place was lifted at 1:50 p.m. The firewater runoff is entering into a storm drain. The Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) has hired a cleanup contractor to manage the firewater.

State, Local and other Federal Agency Actions and Roles: The Houston Fire Department is on-scene and continues to monitor for hotspots and smoke at the facility. Houston Fire Department issued a shelter-in-place order based on emergency response air monitoring data provided by EPA On-Scene Coordinator (OSC). They are currently assessing and managing the runoff firewater. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is also on scene conducting emergency response air monitoring.

EPA Actions and Roles: An EPA OSC and Superfund Technical Assistance Response Team (START) deployed to assess the situation and determined the firewater runoff is potentially comingled with plating chemicals. No oil sheen was observed on the firewater runoff. EPA conducted emergency response air monitoring for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) using a MultiRAE with a detection limit of 0.1 ppm and PM2.5 using pDR1500 with a detection limit of 1 ug/m3.

On May 20 at 4PM, Unified Command disbanded and EPA R6 demobilized from the site. EPA will continue to monitor the response efforts and visit the facility as needed. TCEQ and Houston Public Works will monitor the removal and proper disposal of the runoff water and remaining hazardous substances at the facility. EPA has not received the list of facility chemicals, as the investigation by local authorities is on-going.

The incident location is in the inland zone and EPA is the lead federal agency for the response. There are approximate 30,973 people living within a 1-mile radius of the facility.