Smoke and explosion reported in flood-hit Texas chemical plant

An explosion and smoke have been reported at the flood-hit Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby, Texas.

Two explosions and plumes of black smoke were reported Thursday morning at the flooded Arkema peroxide plant in Crosby, Texas, plant officials said.
A deputy was taken to the hospital after he inhaled fumes from the plant, the Harris County sheriff’s office tweeted.
Nine others drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution, the sheriff’s office said.
The facility has been closely monitored after plant officials say a chemical reaction will likely cause a fire that will “resemble a large gasoline fire” in the coming days.

The company evacuated remaining workers at the damaged plant on Tuesday, and Harris County ordered the evacuation of residents within a 1.5-mile radius due to the risk of an explosion and subsequent leak.

The Arkema plant makes organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, paints and other products.

“There is a small possibility that the organic peroxide will release into the floodwaters but will not ignite and burn,” the company said in a statement.
The flooding in southeast Texas has severely affected oil and chemical plants. Many have shut down operations in the past few days, including, the Colonial Pipeline, which carries huge amounts of gasoline and other fuel between Houston and the East Coast. Valero and Motiva, the largest refinery in the country, have also closed some facilities.

A spokeswoman for the Arkema plant said late on Wednesday that the flooded facility had lost power and backup generators, leaving it without refrigeration for chemicals that become volatile as the temperature rises.

 

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