Two explosions occurred today at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX, as the region continues to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Arkema, the French company that owns the plant, said in a statement that it was notified of the explosions at around 2AM CDT Thursday morning, and that black smoke was seen emanating from the facility. The company had previously ordered all workers to leave the plant amid fears of an incident, and officials had earlier established an evacuation zone within a 1.5-mile radius of the building.
Heavy rains and flooding shut down the plant’s primary power source as well as two backup generators, raising the risk that chemicals stored at the facility could catch fire, as Arkema previously warned. In its statement on Thursday, the company said future explosions could still occur. In a tweet, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department said that one deputy had been taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes from the explosion, and that nine others went to the hospital as a precaution.
“We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains,” the statement reads. “Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so.”