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A resounding blast and thick black smoke has been seen issuing from the Arkema plant at Crosby, BBC reports.
Due to the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, the complex lost its ability to refrigerate chemical compounds that need to be kept cool. At that, there surely was no way to prevent an explosion and the company did warn of it.
It should be noted that, The Arkema chemical plant, which is 21 miles (34km) from Houston, shut down its production on Friday just before the storm made landfall. But, with a 40in (102cm) of rainfall in the area which flooded the plant site, the power disconnection and back-up generators flooded was unavoidable.
The chemical plant manufactures organic peroxides compounds which are effective in the production of pharmaceuticals and construction materials among others, and can become dangerous at higher temperatures.
The CEO, Richard Rowe told Reuters before the reports of explosions that, “Any fire will probably resemble a large gasoline fire. The fire will be explosive and intense.”
“ The black smoke produced would irritate skin, eyes and lungs. The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it” – he added.
However, as part of precautionary measures to prevent a major disaster, residents have been evacuated in a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) radius around the plant as a precaution – though, the fire is expected to be mostly contained to the site itself but.
The last remaining workers at the site were evacuated on Tuesday and Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary ban on flights near the plant.