Explosion, Fire Can't Be Prevented at Flooded Texas Plant, Arkema Says - TheStreet

It won't be possible to prevent an expected explosion at a flooded chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, company officials have said. Residents of the surrounding area, just northeast of Houston, have been evacuated as a precaution and the FAA has temporarily banned flights near the plant.

Richard Rowe, CEO of the North American unit of Arkema (ARKAY) , told reporters on Wednesday the company expects chemicals at the plant will ignite and explode if they are not properly cooled. The company has no way to prevent that because the plant, including backup cooling systems, is under about six feet of water.

Arkema, a chemicals and materials company headquartered in Colombes, France, said it expects the fire or explosion could happen in the next five or six days.

Workers were evacuated Tuesday and Harris County officials told residents living within about one and a half miles of the plant to evacuate, according to published reports.

Rowe did not give details on the amount or type of chemicals -- usually stored at low temperatures -- in the plant, but he said there could be an intense fire.

The company said the facility has been without power since the weekend and generators have been damaged by floodwaters.

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