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Midday Thursday: Voluntary evacuation declaration still in place for Port Neches

PORT NECHES — A shelter-in-place/voluntary evacuation declaration for Port Neches residents issued Wednesday evening remained in effect as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and Port Neches Police Chief Paul Nelson issued the shelter-in-place at 6:08 p.m. Wednesday as a result of elevated levels of butadiene. Prolonged exposure to butadiene could result in headache, nausea, dizziness, eye and throat irritation.

Butadiene is used in the production of synthetic rubber.

The highest reading of volatile organic compounds in Port Neches came at 2401 Saba Lane, where a “very light unpleasant aromatic odor” was detected at 4:12 p.m. Wednesday, according to air quality data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released Thursday morning. The VOC was recorded at 0.975 parts per million.

The highest butadiene reading came at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday — 0.3 ppm at the northwest intersection of Texas Highway 136 and FM 466, the site of the TPC facility. A strong chemical odor was detected.

The Port Neches Chrsitmas Parade, originally scheduled Saturday (Dec. 7) has been canceled.

The American Red Cross recovery center in Nederland was closed Thursday due to the voluntary evacuation and shelter-in-place in Port Neches.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Ford Park Entertainment Complex for those in need of a safe location. The address for Ford Park is 5115 Interstate 10 Access Road, Beaumont.

The recovery center at First Baptist Church of Nederland, 1911 Nederland Ave., will reopen at 9 a.m. Friday. Those who visit the site will need to bring proof of address, such as a driver’s license or utility bill.

Red Cross caseworkers will be available at the recovery center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Trained Red Cross spiritual care and mental health workers will provide services to people who come into the recovery center, including emotional support.

Information from news releases was used in this article.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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