Arkema Inc. announced that, at approximately 2 a.m. CDT today, it was notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from its Crosby, Texas, plant. Local officials had previously established an evacuation zone in an area 1.5 miles from the plant, based on their assessment of the situation.

According to the company, the site followed its hurricane preparation plan in advance of the recent hurricane and had redundant contingency plans in place. However, according to a statement the company released, “unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site. Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperature.

“We have been working closely with public officials to manage the implications of this situation, and have communicated with the public the potential for product to explode and cause an intense fire. Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out.

“We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so.

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