2 Explosions Heard at Flooded Texas Chemical Plant

Harvey's death toll now at least 37
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2017 5:26 AM CDT
Updated Aug 31, 2017 5:58 AM CDT
Blasts Heard at Flooded Texas Chemical Plant
Floodwaters from the Addicks Reservoir inundate a neighborhood off N. Eldridge Parkway in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Houston.   (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said Wednesday night that an explosion at his company's flooded Houston-area chemical plant was inevitable—and he was proved right within hours. The Harris County Emergency Operations Center said early Thursday that there had been two explosions and black smoke was coming from the Crosby plant, the Houston Chronicle reports. Police say a deputy was hospitalized after inhaling fumes and nine others drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution. Rowe warned earlier that the flooded plant had lost power and backup generators had failed, meaning that chemicals that become volatile above certain temperatures were not receiving the necessary cooling.

Elsewhere in the region, the city of Beaumont, population 120,000, says its main pump station has been damaged, leaving residents with no water supply, the AP reports. Authorities say determining the extent of the damage, let alone making repairs, will have to wait until floodwaters recede. The death toll from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath now stands at 37, and the number is expected to rise when flooded areas can be fully accessed, CNN reports. Flooding is expected to continue for days, but the National Hurricane Center says it is no longer tracking Harvey, which is now a tropical depression expected to bring heavy rains to Mississippi and Tennessee before reaching Kentucky by Friday night. (More Hurricane Harvey stories.)

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