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Two explosions reported at flooded chemical plant in hurricane-hit Texas

French chemicals group Arkema confirmed two explosions at its plant in Crosby, Texas, and added there was a risk of further explosions at the site.

world Updated: Aug 31, 2017 15:32 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Houston
Texas,Tecas chemical plant,Explosion
The Arkema Inc. chemical plant is flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey, in Crosby, Texas. The plant, about 25 miles (40.23 kilometers) northeast of Houston, lost power and its backup generators amid Harvey’s dayslong deluge, leaving it without refrigeration for chemicals that become volatile as the temperature rises.(AP Photo)

Local emergency officials on Thursday reported two explosions at a flooded chemical plant in the Texas town of Crosby, its operators Arkema Inc said.

“At approximately 2 am CDT (0700 GMT), we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc plant in Crosby, Texas,” the company statement said.

As a precautionary measure officials had already ordered the evacuation of an area within 1.5 miles (three kilometers) of the organic peroxides plant, which operators had said was at risk of exploding due to a “critical issue” triggered by monster storm Harvey’s torrential rains.

The facility had been evacuated following a dangerous loss of on-site refrigeration.

In its statement, the company said: “unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power.”

The facility manufactures compounds with a broad array of commercial uses including plastics, pharmaceuticals and construction materials but which can combust if not cooled to the proper temperatures.

“Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out,” Arkema said.

“We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so.”

Crosby lies about 25 miles northeast of Houston.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 15:24 IST