Massive chemical plant fire near Houston forces a school to evacuate and residents to shelter in place

CNN — 

Thick plumes of opaque black smoke billowed into the Texas sky Wednesday after a Houston-area chemical plant caught fire – forcing nearby students to evacuate and residents to shelter in place.

The inferno was burning Wednesday morning at the Sound Resource Solutions plant in Shepherd, about 60 miles northeast of Houston, a dispatcher from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said.

The facility focuses on recycling and distributing chemicals, including acids and solvents, the company’s website says.

It was not immediately clear what started the fire or whether anyone was injured. A private school on the same road as the plant was safely evacuated, the San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management said.

By late Wednesday morning, the area under a shelter-in-lace order had been reduced to a 1-mile radius from a 5-mile radius, the emergency management office said.

Thick black smoke shot up from from the plant as the flames kept burning near the ground, aerial footage from CNN affiliate KTRK showed.

CNN has reached out to Sound Resource Solutions for more information.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

By Andy Rose and Holly Yan, CNN