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Reverse Alert system informed residents about the Valero East fire

Video shows the fire burning at around 6 a.m., but neighborhood residents who don't subscribe told 3NEWS they found out through word of mouth.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Several viewers called and messaged the newsroom Thursday morning saying they felt some sort of explosion near refinery row around 6 a.m.

A Reverse Alert, sent around 7:10 a.m., said units are responding to a "localized fire at the Valero East Plant."

The alert said there is no threat to the community and no off-site impacts at this time.

Viewer videos show heavy flames at the plant at around 6 a.m.

The Local Emergency Planning Committee, which runs the Reverse Alert system, said it was notified by Valero of the situation minutes before the alert was sent.

They were told the Refinery Terminal Fire Company (RTFC) was responding to the fire and there was no need for the city to assist. Some near the plant Thursday morning said they heard what sounded like an explosion.

“That's when I heard the 'boom,' " said Adan Gonzalez, who was near the Valero plant.

Joanne Salge helps manage the alert system, which is run by both the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County.

"The situation, from what I know, was contained within the facility and so there was no community action that was required," she said.

Salge said about 28,000 people are signed up for reverse alerts, including some that live outside Corpus Christi but work within city limits.

Gonzalez is not signed up, instead finding out about the incident from his boss' son who works at the Valero East Plant. He wasn't the only one who felt it.

"My friend lives right there, right behind that in the neighborhood. So, he was still asleep, he still hadn't gone here to work and he said he, his whole house was shaking," Gonzalez said.

Salge said Valero notified LEPC of the incident and the details they needed at the time to inform the public they were not in danger.

"Our industrial partners are very responsive to us, and they certainly do take all these events very seriously and are concerned about the wellbeing of their employees and also of the community," Salge said.

Valero sent in the following statement:

No injuries have occurred and the fire has been contained.  Air monitoring is being conducted and there are no issues of concern. The safety of our workers and community is our priority and we appreciate the coordination of efforts with local partners and agencies including the RTFC, Port of Corpus Christi, City of Corpus Christi, TCEQ and the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Reverse Alert system

In case of an emergency, the City of Corpus Christi will send out what is called a Reverse Alert.

The system is a partnership between the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County. The system delivers "critical information to residents regarding current conditions, expected impacts, and protective actions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe." 

There are two simple ways to sign up to receive Reverse Alerts:

  1. Text BEREADYCCNC to 888777 to receive text alerts, OR
  2. Click this link and hit “Sign Up” to register to receive alerts through email, text message, or voice call.


Digital director Ana Tamez contributed to this story.

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