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In Pearland, Texas, Big Warehouse Fire Apparently Going to Burn Out Entire Day

Aired May 1, 2002 - 06:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Larry Dodson is on the phone right now from Pearland, Texas near Houston with more on that big warehouse fire that's apparently going to burn out the entire day. Tell us what's happening there.

LARRY DODSON, PLANT EMPLOYEE: Well, I went to pick up my tractor-trailer this morning. I had a load going to Corpus Christi, and they stopped me up there on 35. I had cut across to 2351 going to Friendswood.

The fire department was up there, and I asked them, I said, that's Third Coast Chemical. And they said, yes, it's burning. And I told them I had a tractor-trailer loaded with motor oil, hydraulic fluid going to Corpus this morning. They wouldn't let me go no further, but they did say that Tim Majet (ph) was on the scene.

And they keep saying that there is paint and household cleaning items in that plant. There is not. The only thing it was was motor oil, hydraulic fluid, break fluid, power steering fluid, antifreeze. That's all we made -- windshield wash.

COSTELLO: Well, evidently they are very combustible, because we have seen a number of explosions...

DODSON: Oh, yes, there is. That blend oil that they make, that stuff is -- it will get those tank batteries hot, they tend to escape the air and the flame. It's just like an oil company when these tank farms go up. That's what it is.

COSTELLO: Larry, where are you right now?

DODSON: I am sitting at the house down in Pearland. I just come on back home. They wouldn't let me go no further and traffic was building up over there, and it's best to keep as many people away from it as you can.

COSTELLO: How far away could you see the flames?

DODSON: Oh, I live about 11 miles, and I can see it from my back porch.

COSTELLO: What does it smell like? We understand people have been evacuated from around that area. DODSON: Well, there's a lot of plastic containers, and you know, it's motor oil, hydraulic fluid, break fluid, power steering fluid. That's all it is. They don't make paint or household cleaners or all of that.

COSTELLO: We also understand there is a severe drought in the Houston area, and firefighters may have trouble getting enough water on this thing.

DODSON: Well, it's kind of an isolated area. There are no fire hydrants in that part of Brazoria County. And they are having to bring it in in water hauling trucks. We have got three trucks of our own, and we also have three -- or six chemical tanks that we haul it in on. But none of it -- the stuff we haul in there is flammable.

COSTELLO: Do you have any idea how this fire may have started?

DODSON: They have no idea. They said about 1:30 this morning, and that's about what time I got out of bed. And like I say, I was supposed to leave there about 3:00 this morning going to Corpus with a load, and it was one of the trucks that went, probably about 45,000 pounds of oil and hydraulic fluid on it.

COSTELLO: All right. Thank you, Larry Dodson, for joining us this morning -- we are glad you are OK -- joining us to talk about that big chemical warehouse fire near Houston, Texas. Larry is an employee there, and apparently at least we have no reports of injuries so far.

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