Texas (KTRK) -- Officials have evacuated workers and residents within
a 1.5 mile radius from the Arkema site in Crosby as flooding has
created a risk of a chemical reaction leading to fire or possible
to plant officials, the situation has become serious.
plant has been shut down since Friday when site leaders were
anticipating landfall of Hurricane Harvey. The location received more
than 40 inches of rainfall, leaving the site heavily flooded and
without electricity since early Sunday morning.
generators have largely been inundated with water. A small ride-out
crew of 11 people remained on site for the last few days, but by
Tuesday afternoon, the decision to evacuate all personnel was made.
officials are working with the Department of Homeland Security and
the State of Texas to set up a command post in a suitable location
near the site. Refrigeration on some of the back-up product storage
containers has been compromised due to extremely high water, which is
unprecedented in the Crosby area.
are monitoring the temperature of each refrigeration container
remotely. At this time, they say they do not believe there is any
imminent danger, but the potential for a chemical reaction leading to
a fire and/or explosion within the site confines is real.
manufactures organic peroxides at their Crosby plant. The product
needs to be stored at a low temperature.
at plant near Houston degrading, explosion inevitable – CEO
refrigeration system at the chemical plant, which produces organic
peroxides for the plastics and rubber industries, has failed due to
the Harvey flooding, the company said.
first warned residents about the possibility of an explosion at the
this time, while we do not believe there is any imminent danger, the
potential for a chemical reaction leading to a fire and/or explosion
within the site confines is real,” the company said Tuesday.
day, residents within 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the Arkema chemical plant
in Crosby were evacuated as a “precautionary measure,” the local
fire marshal’s office said in a Twitter message.
plant was heavily flooded and has been without electricity since
Sunday, Arkema confirmed.
peroxides need to be kept cool, otherwise they may explode. The
plant’s employees initially tried to move the volatile chemicals
from warehouses into refrigerated containers powered by backup
generators, but as the flooding intensified, some of the generators
failed and the company decided to evacuate all workers on Tuesday.
managers said they were monitoring the temperature levels remotely,
and working with officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
homes and businesses are within two miles (3.2 km) of the facility.
Crosby facility is among the Houston-area sites with the highest
potential for harm in an incident, according to a 2016 analysis by
Texas A&M’s Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center and the
would be surprising if the company had not considered a scenario like
this, the Chronicle cited Sam Mannan of Texas A&M University’s
Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.
typically would have the ability to quench the organic peroxides in
situations like this with another chemical so it’s no longer
lose the feedstock but it’s safer than letting it go into runaway
mode,” Mannan said.