Blasts Reported at Houston-Area Volatile-Chemical Plant
At least two explosions were reported at a Houston-area chemical plant Thursday, according to the Harris County Emergency Operations Center. The CEO of Arkema Inc. warned the public earlier in the week that an explosion and fire was likely at the facility following the flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey. The plant makes organic peroxides, which must remain cooled by a refrigeration system in order to prevent a dangerous reaction. Residents within 1.5 miles of the facility were evacuated on Tuesday as a safety precaution. Fifteen deputies were taken to a local hospital after inhaling fumes from the plant following the explosions. All personnel were pulled from the site after the facility took on four to six feet of water and lost power. All backup power systems failed.