Energy & Environment

Texas City Lifts Shelter-In-Place Order After Marathon Oil Chemical Leak

The city specifically called for a shelter in place for Fifth Avenue South to Texas Avenue, between 14th and 34th streets.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation Galveston Bay refinery at night. Texas City, Texas
A Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City at night.

Updated 7:05 p.m. CT

Texas City has lifted a shelter-in-place order after a hydrogen fluoride release at Marathon Oil’s Galveston Bay refinery on Tuesday, which led to two employees being ushered to a nearby hospital, city officials said.

The city had called for a shelter in place for Fifth Avenue South to Texas Avenue, between 14th and 34th streets. Nearby residents received an alert around 4 p.m. Tuesday warning of the release.

“The Galveston Bay refinery's automated response systems today activated mitigation measures in response to a small chemical release,” Marathon spokesperson Jamal T. Kheiry wrote in an email to Houston Public Media. “The release has been stopped and air monitoring data indicate no off-site impact. Two employees who were in the vicinity have been transported to a local medical facility as a precaution. Relevant regulatory notifications have been made. A full investigation will be conducted to determine the cause.”

Hydrogen fluoride is a highly toxic chemical that is hazardous when inhaled. Its release triggered the refinery to implement its own shelter-in-place order, which led the city to do the same, according to Texas City Emergency Manager Tom Munoz.

The Texas City Fire Department hazardous materials team were on site to monitor air quality, and readings came back normal, Munoz said.

Paul DeBenedetto contributed to this report.

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