September 5, 2017
Evacuation orders have been lifted in Crosby, Texas, after the Arkema chemical plant was under a threat of explosions due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
The evacuation was prompted after several explosions occurred last week. Flooding from Harvey led to power loss, causing unrefrigerated chemicals to ignite.
It was early Monday when Arkema announced it was safe for residents to return home after the 6 day evacuation. The company advises people to drink bottled water and wear protective clothing until further notice.
On Sunday, Arkema decided to ignite the remaining combustible containers themselves rather than wait for them to explode on their own, risking additional damage to the facility or possibly spreading into the nearby community.
“In a proactive approach, to minimize the impacts to the community by the Arkema Inc. incident, a decision was made by Arkema Inc. in coordination with unified command to take proactive measures to initiate ignition of the remaining trailers through controlled means,” The company stated in a press release Sunday.
Throughout the week, Arkema continued to suggest the smoke from the fires are not toxic, and stated, “These measures do not pose any additional risk to the community.”
At least eighteen people have been taken to hospitals so far with complaints of problems from inhaling the fumes.
The EPA says they continue to monitor the smoke and air quality near the facility.
— Harris Co. FMO (@hcfmo) September 3, 2017