French chemical company Arkema SA said its plant in Crosby, Texas, was hit by explosions after a major flood caused by Hurricane Harvey knocked out power supplies that are needed to refrigerate volatile chemicals.
Having already lost its electricity supply and backup generators, two explosions and black smoke were reported at 2:00 a.m. local time, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Arkema had already evacuated workers, and local authorities had cleared the area prior to the blow.
Arkema stores organic peroxides at several locations on the site and the threat of additional explosions remains, it said, adding that the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out.
“Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperature,” the company said. The chemicals are “extremely flammable.”
Harvey made landfall on Aug. 26 and has brought torrential rain and the collapse of levees, dams and drains while knocking out almost a quarter of U.S. refining capacity, of which more than half is in the Gulf of Mexico region. The Crosby site is situated in an area with no hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, recreational areas or industrial and commercial areas in the vicinity, according to Arkema.
Arkema traded 1.3 percent lower at 91.87 euros as of 11:27 a.m. in Paris.
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