AP NEWS

Katy ISD takes precautions due to benzene, air quality

March 21, 2019

Officials at the Katy ISD took caution Thursday morning by conducting all student outdoor activities inside due to benzene vapor released in Deer Park after the chemical fire.

In a letter to parents, officials said they made the decision to hold all student activities indoors “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Since this morning, district administration has been in contact with a number of county, local, and environmental agency officials— all of whom have ensured us that the outdoor air quality is safe for our students and residents,” officials said in the letter.

Outdoor activities resumed by 11 a.m.

Katy ISD officials said they would continue to monitor the situation and would inform parents should anything change.

Deer Park lifted its shelter-in-place order Thursday for residents after air quality readings showed lower benzene levels near the petrochemical facility where several holding tanks burned, Harris County officials said.

The fire began Sunday and was extinguished by Wednesday, but officials are still working to resolve the benzene exposure, officials said.