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Shell Fire, Deer Park

As part of an integrated incident command, TCEQ, along with Harris County, EPA and Shell responded to a fire that began on May 5, 2023, at a Shell facility in Deer Park. We provided the following updates and monitoring reports through May 12.


UPDATE May 12, 2023: As of 12:10 p.m., May 12, 2023, the controlled discharge to the Houston Ship Channel has ended. TCEQ remains integrated and present at unified command.

Shell contractors continue to monitor the booms and make adjustments or replacements as needed, and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted routine inspections of the site, the docks, and Patricks’ Bayou.

Through its contractors, Shell will further identify and mitigate any remaining fugitive emissions from the site and continue air surveillance to monitor the response and identify any other additional concerns.

UPDATE May 8, 2023: As of approximately 8:30 p.m., May 7, 2023, the TCEQ on-scene coordinator received information that the fire was out. Shell and the agencies involved continued air monitoring but have not detected any harmful levels of chemicals. TCEQ ceased air monitoring but Shell and its contractors will continue.

There has been a discharge of wastewater, and the total amount is under investigation. TCEQ has directed Shell to take all necessary actions to minimize any off-site impacts or discharges to the Houston Ship Channel or from other impacted areas. Shell has placed absorbent booms at intervals throughout the flow from the source to the outfall. TCEQ will ensure that any cleanup activities that may be needed are done according to applicable state rules.

TCEQ and its partner agencies continue to monitor the management of firewater and stormwater at the site.

UPDATE May 7, 2023:
Although the fire at the facility was considered extinguished at 1:50 AM on May 6, some of the remaining product reignited at 3:14 pm. Shell continues to work to extinguish the fire and manage the amount of firewater and potential stormwater.  

TCEQ Houston Region staff are continuing to have a presence at the site with the TCEQ State On-Scene Coordinator in the Unified Command and with staff conducting air monitoring. TCEQ has also activated contractors to assist with air monitoring and water sampling. There were no detections of concern in the air monitoring surveys.


TCEQ responded immediately to the Shell fire and joined forces with the incident command.  Our investigators deployed to Deer Park and Channelview with handheld MultiRAE monitors. They continued monitoring moving southeast of Deer Park.

TCEQ continued to conduct air monitoring with handheld monitors in addition to three mobile monitoring vehicles through the evening and overnight.  TCEQ staff concluded handheld community air monitoring until approximately 12:00 pm. Additional overnight TCEQ monitoring activities continued utilizing a mobile monitoring vehicle.  As reported through incident command we did not detect any readings of health concern in the air monitoring surveys.

At approximately 1:50 am on May 6, 2023, Shell confirmed the fire was extinguished and a fire watch would remain on-site, however, mobile monitoring continued to be conducted until approximately 2:00 pm May 6.  Again, we did not detect any readings of health concern in the air monitoring surveys.

All runoff water has been contained on-site, where it will be treated or disposed of following state and federal regulations. There have been no off-site impacts detected. 

Initial Notification of Event

Mobile and Handheld Monitoring

TCEQ’s mobile monitoring assets conducted surveys in the area. Monitoring data and survey locations are listed below.  Data collected during mobile monitoring surveys was compared to the instantaneous baseline derived investigation levels ( iBDIL).

Air Monitoring Results

See maps of monitoring locations below. These preliminary data have not been verified by TCEQ and may change. The data are not official until validated by technical staff. Mobile monitoring cannot be conducted during periods of rain or high humidity due to instrument limitations.

Compilation of Air Monitoring Data (All Handheld)
Data May 7, 2 AM – 8 AM (DUVAS)
Data May 6, 7 PM - 12 AM (DUVAS)
Data May 6, 11 AM - 130 PM (DUVAS)

Data May 6, 10:30 AM - 2 PM (SIFTMS)
Data May 6, 4 AM - 8 AM (DUVAS)
Data May 5-6, Midnight - 2 AM
Data May 5, 8 PM - 12 AM (DUVAS)

Air Monitoring Locations

Monitoring Map May 7-8, 9 PM – 7 AM (Handheld)
Monitoring Map May 6, 10:30 AM - 2 PM (SIFTMS)
Monitoring Map May 6, 4 AM - 8 AM (DUVAS)
Monitoring Map May 5-6, Midnight - 2 AM
Monitoring Zones May 5, Initial
Monitoring Map May 5, Initial

Air Monitoring Summary for May 5 Through Approximately 10:00 pm

Deer Park and Channelview: No emissions detected

Cloverleaf area: VOCs ranged from 130 ppb to 460 ppb, below the action level of 1000 ppb (1 ppm)

Northshore: VOCs ranged from 0 ppb to 130 ppb. CO ranged from 4-6 ppm

Lynchburg/Baytown area: No readings of concern were detected

Stationary Monitoring

Find your area of interest and the results for volatile organic compounds at the following stationary air monitoring sites:

Houston Deer Park #2
HRM 16-Deer Park
Lynchburg Ferry
Channelview Drive Water Tower
HRM #3 Haden Rd

To access the data from the site links above, enter or select a desired date, check the parameters of interest from Advanced Options, and then click Generate Report.

You can also find additional data and sites through GeoTAM .

CHGO = Cracked Heavy Gas Oil

NMSS = Firefighting Foam

Pitch = PITCH


Pyrolysis = Pyrolysis Gasoline Blend