2 explosions, black smoke reported at chemical plant outside Houston

At least one police officer was hospitalized after inhaling fumes following two reported explosions that rocked a flooded chemical plant outside of Houston on Thursday morning, officials said.

Nine deputies, who also inhaled the non-toxic irritant, drove themselves to the hospital after being near the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, about 25 miles northeast of Houston, FOX26 reported. The plant lost power on Sunday amid Tropical Storm Harvey’s days-long deluge and a “series of chemical reactions” had occurred because of the lack of refrigeration for chemicals, a plant spokeswoman told The Associated Press late Wednesday. 

“The fire will happen. It will resemble a gasoline fire. It will be explosive and intense in nature,” spokeswoman Janet Smith told The Associated Press late Wednesday.

There was “no way to prevent” the explosion, CEO Rich Rowe said.

People located in a 1.5-mile radius of the plant was evacuated. 

In its most recently available submission from 2014, Arkema said potentially 1.1 million residents could be affected over an area of 23 miles in a worst case scenario, according to information compiled by a nonprofit group and posted on a website hosted by The Houston Chronicle.

But, Arkema added, it was using “multiple layers of preventative and mitigation measures” at the plant,…

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