Energy & Environment

Neighbors Weary About Chemicals In Air, Water After Spring Branch Warehouse Fire

A day after a massive fire burned down a warehouse in Spring Branch, residents and workers in the area are dealing with the aftermath.


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The Houston Fire Department says about 500 gallons of pesticides were stored at the warehouse complex on Laverne Street.

On Thursday, the warehouse was consumed by a large blaze with multiple explosions.

Some residents are now concerned about how chemical runoff in ditches and creeks may affect their drinking water.

Gricelda Escobar, manager at nearby La Curva Ice House, said the fire has affected her business, and she doesn't trust the tap water.

"It worries us because we cook and right now we can't use the water," she said in Spanish.

The city of Houston says the water is safe to drink.

Victor Gonzalez, who lives just across from the warehouse, said he will continue to drink filtered tap water. But he's staying inside because of the smoke that continues to linger.

"The fireman, he says it's danger," he said.

Gonzalez said he has lived in his house for 23 years and had no idea about the chemicals being stored next door. But he feels safe now.

"That chemicals was danger, but now we don't have anymore," he said with a chuckle.

Down the road, Carlos Zaragoza works at a furniture repair shop, which borders on the warehouse property. He doesn't feel good about breathing in the air here either.

"That's why we got the doors closed," he said. "That way we don't get too much air from there."

The Houston Health Department is waiting for test results of the air as well as of Spring Branch Creek for pesticide contamination levels.

Authorities are advising residents to avoid creeks and ditches and not to eat fish caught from any stream or bayou in the area.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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