CROSBY, Texas (FOX 26) - Floodwaters at the Arkema site in Crosby have caused a "critical situation" and residents in surrounding areas have been told to evacuate. The company says that floodwaters and a loss of their primary power source has lead to the loss of critical refrigeration of materials that could now explode and cause fire.
The Harris County Fire Marshall's Office says residents in a 1.5 mile radius of the plant were told to evacuate.
Employees at the plant were also told to evacuate and Arkema officials are working with federal, state, and local agencies to manage the situation. Arkema is setting up a call center to take question from those affected by the situation.
Arkema Inc. President and CEO released this statement:
5:55 pm est., August 30, 2017
The nation is dealing with a natural disaster of enormous magnitude in Texas. As part of that, Arkema is dealing with a critical issue at our Crosby, Texas facility.
Please let me begin by thanking our brave and dedicated employees who safely shut down the site before Hurricane Harvey made landfall. Like everyone else in the region, these folks were dealing with personal and family issues caused by the storm, yet they performed their tasks in the most professional manner.
Next, we apologize to everyone impacted by our situation, particularly in combination with the horrible conditions visited upon the region by the hurricane. We are working closely with many governmental authorities and first responders, and we want to thank them for their guidance, professionalism and dedication. People are working around the clock under extremely challenging conditions, and the work thus far has been tremendous. We cherish the strong relationships and support we have received from our neighbors, the United States Department of Homeland Security, Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency, Harris County Fire Marshall’s Office, Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and our elected representatives.
Our Crosby facility makes organic peroxides, a family of compounds that are used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials. But organic peroxides may burn if not stored and handled under the right conditions. At Crosby, we prepared for what we recognized could be a worst case scenario. We had redundant contingency plans in place. Right now, we have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant. We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. 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. 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.
We are setting up a call center to handle questions from neighbors and others affected, and a claims center to handle financial claims related to Arkema’s Crosby situation. Also, we’ve reached out to local crisis leaders in Harris County and offered our support. Once more, we apologize for impacting their lives. We thank the governmental authorities who are working closely with us for their guidance and professionalism, and will continue to work with them until this situation is resolved.