Crosby, Texas – Arkema Chemical Plant Explosions Heard

 In Domestic

Residents within a 1.5 radius of the Arkema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas were evacuated this week due to the danger of fire or explosion.  By Thursday morning, the plant began to leak and small explosions were heard, accompanied by black smoke.

The FAA closed air traffic over the plant in anticipation of a plume of chemical smoke, according to NBC. Officials stated that the smoke contained an “irritant” but that it should not be a serious health hazard. However at last count, several law enforcement officers were hospitalized from inhaling the fumes.

Arkema Group officials stated there was no way to prevent an explosion at the Crosby plant. Harris County stated it wasn’t “explosions” just a couple of pops” as the incident occurred this morning at around 2.a.m. A few citizens disagreed.

The Houston Chronicle reported:

Late Monday night, the facility lost power from both its primary supply and its backup generators due to flooding. Employees moved highly volatile organic peroxides into back-up containers to keep them cool. If this class of chemical gets too hot, it can cause fires or explosions…

Arkema’s 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 Houston Chronicle.

It was an organic peroxide, cumene hydroperoxide, that helped land Arkema on that list.
Many homes and businesses are within two miles of the facility.

According to reports, the chemicals are sensitive to temperature. When the plant lost power as flood waters rose, it was guaranteed that the plant would explode. Back up generators were swamped an it became impossible to prevent an explosion.

This particular plant did not have the chemicals necessary to make their inventory inert in case of problems…which is expensive because it causes the company to lose their inventory entirely.

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