When the CEO of Arkema America, Richard Rowe, warned late Wednesday that the company is powerless to prevent an imminent explosion at its Crosby, TX chemical plant, all we could do was wait for the inevitable. We didn’t have long to wait, because just a few hours later, on Thursday morning, Arkema said it has been notified about two explosions at the doomed Crosby plant.
At approximately 2:00am local time, the company announced that two explosions and black smoke were reported. According to ABC, several people were taken to hospital.
Arkema confirming 2 explosions at their chemical plant + black smoke. EMS workers tell me people WERE taken to hospital. #abc13 pic.twitter.com/OI70b4UWH8
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) August 31, 2017
A sheriff’s deputy was among those taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes, according to a tweet from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Nine other deputies drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution.
One deputy taken to hospital after inhaling fumes from Archem plant in Crosby. 9 others drove themselves to hospital as precaution.
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 31, 2017
Arkema had already evacuated workers, and local authorities had cleared the area prior to the blow. From the statement:
- At approximately 2 a.m. CDT, we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, Texas. Local officials had previously established an evacuation zone in an area 1.5 miles from our plant, based on their assessment of the situation.
An Arkema spokesperson stated late Wednesday that a fire at the site was inevitable. “The fire will happen. It will resemble a gasoline fire. It will be explosive and intense in nature… as the temperature rises, the natural state of these materials will decompose. A white smoke will result, and that will catch fire. So the fire is imminent. The question is when,” spokesperson Janet Smith said.