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Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey caused a large chemical fire at the Arkema Chemical Plant located northwest of Houston in Crosby, Texas. Rising water overwhelmed the plant’s refrigeration system which led to an explosion and intense fire in its stores of chemicals. According to this story in the Chicago Tribune, no employees were on site when the explosion occurred, although fifteen sheriff’s deputies complained of respiratory irritation.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told local ABC affiliate KTRK-Houston in a statement, “Smoke is a complex mixture of pollutants that can be irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, that can decrease lung function, and the odors can cause headaches. The smoke from the fire is especially acrid and irritating. Those with heart problems or respiratory conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly sensitive.”
Local CBS affiliate KHOU-Houston reported that the plant stores numerous chemicals, such as acetone, benzoyl chloride, chlorodifluromethane, cumene, cumene hydroperpoxide, DI(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, ethybenzene, ethylene glycol, hydrochloric acid, mercury, methyl ethylketone, n-hexane, sodium hydroxide, sodium sulfate, sulfuric acid and butyl alcohol.
Harris County officials evacuated everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the chemical plant. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says about 1,300 households with 3,800 people live in a 3-mile radius around Arkema, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV has reported.
Our experienced environmental lawyers at Williams Cedar are ready to help protect your rights and property. For more information, call us today at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777. You may also submit an online inquiry.