Firefighters responded to a call initially concerning a “small grass fire” and one burning pile of mulch at the facility late last weekend. No injuries or fatalities were reported; however, the fire spread once they arrived.
According to the Houston Fire Department, the blaze was ignited by equipment at the center and picked up due to the windy conditions. The intensity grew, and the smoke reduced visibility, causing it to reach a nearby warehouse.
The firefighters were able to contain the fire to the facility's premises, avoiding nearly $2 million in damages. On Monday, they turned management of the blaze over to the private fire protection company, US Fire Pump.
Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña took to X (formerly Twitter) to alert the public that no evacuations or shelter-in-place orders were necessary, as there was no immediate threat to the public despite reports indicating it could take a week to extinguish the fire.
Peña suggested that those with respiratory health issues should opt to stay away from the area or wear a mask if they are outside and nearby the blaze.
The Houston Health Department is continuing to monitor for elevated levels of pollution. According to Porfirio Villarreal, public information officer for the City of Houston, none had been detected.
@HoustonHealth is conducting air monitoring in the area. At this time, there is Nothing that would prompt a shelter in place or evacuation— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) August 14, 2023
⚠️As a precaution, any person(s) prone to respiratory problems may want to remain indoors or cover with a mask when outside near the area. https://t.co/T2ihECWyQX
This is the second fire to occur at the facility, as one ignited by similar circumstances and intensified because of windy conditions earlier this year in February.
This story will be updated as needed.