CEO: Explosion Inevitable at Flooded Texas Chemical Plant
Blast will be 'intense,' CEO warns
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2017 12:01 AM CDT
The Arkema Inc. chemical plant is flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Crosby, Texas.   (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Newser) – An explosion and fire is going to happen at a swamped Texas chemical plant and there's not much anybody can do about it, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe says. The plant in Crosby, around 25 miles northeast of Houston, has lost power after being flooded with around 6 feet of water, meaning that chemicals that will explode or burn if they get too warm are not being properly cooled, ABC reports. "We have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire," Rowe said Wednesday. "The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it." The company evacuated its last employee on Tuesday night.

Rowe said the explosion is likely to happen within six days and the company, which makes organic peroxides used in plastic resins and other products, is "comfortable" with the size of the 1.5-mile evacuation zone declared around the plant, Reuters reports. He said the fire will be "explosive and intense," but there will be no "long-term harm or impact" on the area. Residents say the company should have warned them sooner. "They should take better care of that kind of stuff because you're endangering people's lives," neighbor Stanley Roberts tells the Houston Chronicle. "I gotta leave my place just because somebody made a mistake." (America's largest oil refinery has also been flooded.)

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