LA PORTE, Tx.-- A chemical spill has prompted an emergency shelter in place order in La Porte, Tx. amidst the crisis of devastating floods in the Houston area.

The La Porte Fire Department was working to contain the chemical leak from a pipeline in the area of Highway 225 and Highway 146, which was reported around 5 p.m. Monday.

While crews worked to contain the leak, The City of La Porte issued a ‘shelter in place’ for the northeast section of the city.

An alert to residents read in part, “Close all doors and windows and turn off heating or cooling systems. Stay off the phone so you can receive updates from emergency officials.”

City officials said anyone in the area should remain sheltered in place until an ‘all clear’ was issued.

In an alert, the city said it had shut down all southbound and northbound traffic on the Hartman Bridge. No travelers would be allowed in or out of the area until further notice.

In a Facebook post, the City of La Porte described the spill as the chemical ‘Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride, which presents symptoms of eye, throat, and nasal irritation.‘

According to Cameo Chemicals associated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hydrogen Chloride, Anhydrous would cause ‘serious or permanent injury.’

A full profile on the health hazards associated with the chemical stated:

Gas concentrations of 50 to 100 ppm are tolerable for 1 hour. Concentrations of 1,000 to 2,000 ppm are dangerous, even for brief exposures. More severe exposures will result in serious respiratory distress and prolonged exposures will result in death. Mists of hydrochloric acid are considered less harmful than anhydrous hydrochloric acid, because droplets have no dehydrating action. Individuals with respiratory problems and digestive diseases may be adversely affected by low level exposures to the gas or mist. (EPA, 1998)

As of 7 p.m., an all clear was still not given to La Porte residents.

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