Two explosions were reported on Thursday at the flood-hit plant of French chemical group Arkema SA in Crosby, Texas, and a sheriff’s deputy was taken to a hospital after inhaling chemicals, the company said.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said on its Twitter feed the deputy had been taken to the hospital and nine others drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution.
An Arkema spokesman told FRANCE 24 that the plant produces peroxides that are used in plastics. The company evacuated the site on Friday.
Given the lack of electricity at the plant, the explosions were expected. “Peroxide does explode when not properly cooled down, and we had to shut down all refrigerators,” the spokesman told FRANCE 24. “We don’t expect the leak to be more toxic than the release of carbon dioxide in the smoke.”
The company issued a statement warning that the threat of additional explosions remains.
“Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so,” the statement said.
Crosby lies about 25 miles northeast of Houston, which was devastated by tropical storm Harvey.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)