Flooded Houston chemical plant could explode, CEO says

HOUSTON (AP) – The CEO of a chemical plant northeast of Houston says it could explode and cause an intense fire.

Arkema president and chief executive Rich Rowe said Wednesday that the floodwaters from Harvey and the lack of power are keeping the company from preventing an explosion. The company says the chemical compounds must be stored at low temperatures. He said there is 6 feet of water at the plant and they have lost critical refrigeration of the materials.

Rowe says: “We have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire.”

Arkema makes organic peroxides in Crosby, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston.

Officials have evacuated the plant and homes within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the plant.

Arkema said it shut down the Crosby site before Harvey made landfall last week, but a crew of 11 had been kept onsite. That group was removed Tuesday.

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