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Public Safety

Jefferson County
City of Port Arthur
News Release
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Port Arthur, Texas - The Port Arthur Fire Department continues to provide over-watch fire protection at the German Pellets Port Arthur terminal. There have been no significant changes in status.

German Pellets is on site with experts assessing the situation, and developing a plan to move forward. The silo is still smoldering, and no flames have been present since early Sunday morning.

TCEQ is continuing to conduct visible emissions and odor surveys in the adjacent neighborhoods, and responding to citizens’ complaints as received. In addition, an advisory from the TCEQ Toxicology Division about the health effects from smoke is included. 

Health Effects of Smoke

Smoke is a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. While the main pollutant of concern in smoke is the particulate matter, smoke may also contain other pollutants that are dependent on the product that is  burned, the moisture content of the product, and the fire temperature. 

Particles from smoke are often very small in size and have diameters that are 2.5 micrometers and smaller (PM2.5). These particles are respiratory and eye irritants.  Short-term exposures (hours-weeks) to these particles can cause headaches, respiratory (e.g., runny nose, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, and bronchitis) and eye irritation (e.g., burning eyes). Exposures to high concentrations of these particles can cause persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. 

While some people are more susceptible to the adverse health effects of smoke, particles from smoke can also cause respiratory symptoms, transient reductions in lung function and pulmonary inflammation in healthy adults. Children, older adults, and people with pre-existing heart or lung disease are more susceptible to lower levels of smoke than healthy people. 

Protect yourself and your family by taking the following precautions:

• Limit or avoid your exposure to smoke 

• Stay indoors with windows and doors shut

• Use air conditioning, if available, and run it with the fresh air intakes closed

• Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution

• Do not smoke

• Do not burn candles

• Do not vacuum

• Drink plenty of water

• Avoid strenuous activity

• Take all your medications as scheduled

• If you have asthma or other breathing problems, see your doctor if your symptoms become worse

The PAFD will continue to provide support while working with our many responsive community partners.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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