Arkema Inc., which manufactures organic peroxides that must be stored at low temperatures, released a statement Tuesday evening saying, "The potential for a chemical reaction leading to a fire and/or explosion within the site confines is real".
The Texas plant produces liquid organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polyester reinforced fiberglass, and acrylic resins.
A fire or explosion looks likely in Crosby, Texas, where a chemical plant owned by Arkema Inc. now sits submerged under six feet of floodwater.
The facility evacuated all of its employees Tuesday, and approximately 300 people living within 1.5 miles of the plant have been voluntarily evacuated as well. The company says high water in the area is unusual, however.
Yesterday, the company said: "The situation at the Crosby site has become serious". The cause, per the Reuters story, is flood damage sustained by backup generators - which were in use after the storm knocked out power to the area.
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"To ensure the safety of our ride-out team, all personnel have been evacuated from the site at this time".
The company said it was working with officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
The company said some refrigeration of back-up containers has been compromised because of high-water levels, and the company is monitoring temperature levels remotely.
"Arkema is limited in what it can do to address the site conditions until the storm abates".
Arkema CEO Rich Rowe apologized to the people of Crosby for the threat posed by the facility and thanked emergency management and first responder officials for their help. The company said in a site status update that regulatory agencies have also been notified of the situation. "We are working without pause to keep our materials safe".