The CEO of an industrial chemical company is warning that there is “no way to prevent” a large explosion and fire at their Houston plant which was flooded after Hurricane Harvey.
The Arkema plant, which produces chemicals used in making acrylic-based paints, is currently submerged under floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey which have knocked out its primary and its two backup power generators.
“And as a result, critical refrigeration needed for our materials on site is lost,” said Rich Rowe, Arkema’s North American operations on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Materials could now explode and cause subsequent and intense fire. The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it.”
The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Crosby, Texas, where the plant is located, said Wednesday it is monitoring the situation.
#Update on #Arkema Facility in Crosby, TX from Harris County Officials. pic.twitter.com/SgWMgWTgrz
— Harris Co. FMO (@hcfmo) August 30, 2017
All residents within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant have been evacuated.
Rowe told the Chronicle that the chemicals in the plant would “certainly” begin to degrade without refrigeration over the six days local officials say it could take for the floodwaters to recede.