Chemical Plant Near Houston Warns It's About To Explode

Aug 31, 2017, 01:36
Chemical Plant Near Houston Warns It's About To Explode

The plant, run by Arkema, manufactures peroxides, which must be stored at low temperatures.

"There is no way to prevent an explosion or fire", Rowe said.

Residents within a 1.5-mile radius of the facility have been asked to evacuate, according to the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

"You have put our lives in jeopardy", Peek posted.

Arkema has plants in half a dozen countries, including 34 in the United States.

The plant has been without power since Sunday and is swamped with six feet of water. "A small ride-out crew of 11 people remained on site for some days", the company said in a statement. Typically, companies can quench organic peroxides in situations like this by combining them with another chemical, eliminating the danger.

It 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.

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Sure, reports continue to come out of other industrial facilities damaged by Harvey, as we've noted, but none of them have the same immediate potential to go as horribly wrong as the problem at the site owned by French industrial behemoth Arkema SA.

Although the plant closed Friday, the company now has 11 employees who are scheduled to ride out Hurricane Harvey, the Chronicle reported. That analysis factored risks based on the amount and type of unsafe chemicals on site and their proximity to the public.

"Materials could now explode and cause subsequent and intense fire".

Rowe did not disclose the volume of chemicals on the site and said it was speculative to predict how much damage the plant could sustain.

He downplayed any long-term impact or any toxic inhalation hazards from a fire or explosion at the plant, saying he was not aware of anything the public should be concerned about.

The company reported the failure to local authorities on Tuesday morning.

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