Controlled Burn Carried Out at Texas Chemical Plant

All fires at flooded plant now out, authorities say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2017 11:38 PM CDT
Updated Sep 4, 2017 12:33 AM CDT
Controlled Burn Carried Out at Flooded Chemical Plant
A house is seen flooded in Orange County, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, as water slowly recedes from Tropical Storm Harvey.   (Kim Brent)

Authorities carried out a controlled burn Sunday at a chemical plant damaged by Harvey, sending small flames and gray smoke into the sky, after saying the highly unstable compounds that had caused previous explosions needed to be neutralized. Small flames burning in charred structures were seen, with a limited amount of the smoke, from the Arkema plant in Crosby. Sam Mannan, a chemical safety expert at Texas A&M University, said the gray smoke indicated a more complete burn with fewer harmful chemicals remaining. By Sunday night, officials said all fires at the plant were out, the AP reports.

Officials said the "proactive measures" to ignite six remaining trailers didn't pose additional risks to the community. People living within a mile and a half of the site are still evacuated. Three trailers containing unstable compounds had previously caught fire at the plant after backup generators were engulfed by Harvey's floodwaters, which knocked out the refrigeration necessary to keep them from degrading and igniting. (Read more Hurricane Harvey stories.)

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