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Harris County Hires More Prosecutors After Huge Chemical Plant Fires

HARRIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Officials in Harris County have approved the hiring of additional assistant district attorneys to prosecute environmental crimes following two major chemical plant fires that closed schools near Houston and leaked toxic chemicals into coastal waters.

Deer Park chemical fire 1
(credit: KTRK)

County commissioners on Tuesday authorized $850,000 for the district attorney's office to hire four prosecutors who will focus on environmental violations, plus two investigators and two support staff.

The approval comes after commissioners in February turned down District Attorney Kim Ogg's request for more than 100 additional prosecutors for her office.

plant fire
Plant Fire Raging In Crosby Texas (Credit: KTRK/CNN)

But Ogg's request came before a March fire at Intercontinental Terminals Co. that triggered shelter-in-place warnings and filled the sky with smoke and flames for nearly four straight days.

Another explosion and fire in April, that was triggered by flammable gas, at a KMCO plant killed one worker and injured two others.

Ogg announced Monday that ITC will be charged with five counts of water pollution.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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