Crosby, Texas – French chemicals manufacturer Arkema Group has reported of explosions at its flooded plant in Crosby, near Houston, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey which hit the region on 25 Aug.
“At approximately 2 am CDT [0700 gmt], we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, Texas,” the company said in its latest update.
But in a news briefing posted by the Harris County Sheriff's Department on its Facebook page at about 6 am Central time, Sheriff Ed Gonzales said it was a non-toxic "pop" rather than an explosion.
"This event had been expected and planned," Gonzales said in a news briefing posted on the department's Facebook page. "There were different organic peroxides of different grades that were released and it created a pop in the containers where they were being stored, and some gray smoke initially emanated from it and it turn into black smoke."
Gonzales said deputies on site experienced some eye and throat irritation, but that was because of the smoke rather than a chemical reaction.
"It was not an explosion. I want to be clear that it was not an explosion," he said. "We had a number of deputies out there who were maintaining a perimeter. As a precaution they were taken to a hospital."