Scientists who have studied the ITC fire say officials should have used a lower threshold to warn the public and that more precautions, including shelter-in-place warnings, should have been taken during the incident to protect public health.

Days after the 2019 fire started, hundreds of residents sought medical treatment. Many said they struggled to breathe and experienced severe headaches, heart problems and coughed up blood.

During Thursday’s hearing, held in Deer Park High School’s auditorium, residents asked the TCEQ representatives questions about ITC’s previous violations and often received “I don’t know” as a response. The responses from agency representatives drew sarcastic laughter and shouts from the audience. “What’s the point?” of the meeting, residents asked.

Residents blamed state and federal regulators for not adequately responding to their environmental or health concerns after the 2019 fire.

Shanon DiSorbo (C) responds to the Deer Park community about the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) Renewal of Federal Operating Permit application that would allow continued operation of their Storage and Export Terminal. Deer Park,TX. Thursday, May 4,2023
A few attendees with signs protesting TCEQ and the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) and their application for renewal of their operating permit , Deer Park, TX. Thursday, May 4, 2023

This article was written by ALEJANDRA MARTINEZ of The Texas Tribune.  The Texas Tribune— and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.  This article originally appeared at: