By New Scientist Staff and Press Association
Two explosions have been heard at a flooded chemical plant in a small town outside Houston.
The Arkema plant lies around 40 kilometres away in Crosby, Texas, and the last of its employees evacuated on Tuesday. The flooded facility lost power and backup generators after Hurricane Harvey swept in, leaving it without refrigeration for organic peroxides that become volatile as the temperature rises.
A statement on the website of French company Arkema this morning says that two explosions have been heard and black smoke has been spotted. Residents within 2.5 kilometres of the plant have been told to leave.
“The fire will happen. It will resemble a gasoline fire. It will be explosive and intense in nature,” said Janet Smith, spokeswoman for the French company, said yesterday.
Arkema submitted a plan to the government in 2014 outlining a worst-case scenario that said potentially 1.1 million residents could be affected by such an event over a distance of 23 miles (37 kilometres), according to information compiled by a non-profit group.
But the company said on Wednesday that a worst-case scenario was “very unlikely”.
Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.