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Texas chemical plant loses power, prompts evacuation

By Danielle Haynes
Texas chemical plant loses power, prompts evacuation
Texas Army National Guard aviation crews with the 36 Combat Aviation Brigade, conduct search and rescue operations over Houston on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Arkema, a chemical plant near Houston, said its facility was at risk of explosion after it lost power and the ability to refrigerate chemicals. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon/U.S. Army National Guard/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A chemical plant near Houston said it has lost backup power and the ability to refrigerate materials that could explode, prompting nearby evacuations.

Arkema's CEO and President Rich Rowe issued a statement Wednesday saying the Crosby, Texas, facility lost primary power from the effects of Hurricane Harvey as well as two sources of emergency backup power.

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"We have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant," he said.

"As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it," Rowe added.

The company evacuated personnel and the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said residents within a 1.5-mile radius have also been told to leave.

"We have evacuated our personnel for their own safety. The federal, state and local authorities were contacted a few days ago, and we are working very closely with them to manage this matter. They have ordered the surrounding community to be evacuated, too," Rowe said.

Arkema's Crosby facility makes organic peroxides, which it says is used in a variety of products including pharmaceuticals and construction materials. Organic peroxides burn and could spark a fire if not stored under the right temperatures.

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