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article imageChemical plant in Crosby, Texas is expected to explode

By Karen Graham     Aug 30, 2017 in Business
Crosby - The potential for an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas shut down because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey has grown. This has prompted a mandatory evacuation of all employees and anyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant.
According to the Houston Press this afternoon, an explosion and/or fire at the Arkema SA ammonia plant in Crosby is likely, according to company officials. The facility is currently under six-feet of water.
Organic peroxides used in the plant's manufacturing process started heating up after the facility's main source of power was lost. Then, the power from the plant's backup generators was lost. Without refrigeration, the chemicals start to degrade with the end-result being an explosion or fire.
“The materials could now explode and cause a subsequent, intense fire,” Rich Rowe, Arkema’s president, and CEO, said Wednesday. “The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it.”
The facility evacuated all its employees on Tuesday and about 500 people living within a 1.5-mile radius of the chemical plant. Rowe says the evacuation radius is “conservative,” and said he expects that the effects of a fire or explosion would be contained on the site’s facilities, reports the Texas Tribune.
Arkema Chemical Plant
Arkema Chemical Plant
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Local officials have told Rowe the flood waters will hang around for at least another six days. Rowe anticipated the chemicals will certainly degrade before that time. But Rowe is sure the damage will be minimal, saying the fire is “nothing that would pose any long-term harm or impact,” while environmental damages would be small.
The company is continuing to monitor the temperatures in the incapacitated refrigeration units. The plant is located Northeast of Houston near a section of Interstate 90 that has been underwater and closed. The facility was shut down on Friday in anticipation of Harvey making landfall. However, none of the plant's chemical inventory was relocated.
The Federal Aviation Administration has temporarily barred flights over the area near the plant because of the risk of fire or explosion.
More about Arkema SA, Chemical plant, organic peroxides, Explosion, mandatory evacuation
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