Texas plant explosion risk prompts evacuation of 1.5-mile radius

The organic peroxide plant is at serious risk of explosion, officials said.

ByABC News
August 30, 2017, 12:39 AM

— -- Workers and residents within a mile radius of a manufacturing plant in Crosby, Texas have been evacuated Tuesday evening over concerns there could be an explosion or fire at the facility in the wake of flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

According to ABC-affiliate KTRK, plant officials have described the situation as serious. The decision was made to evacuate the plant's 11-person emergency crew and residents within a 1.5-mile radius.

The plant, operated by Arkema, Inc., produces organic peroxide, which must be kept cool to avoid potential problems, according to KTRK. The building is without power, and severe flooding has inundated back-up generators.

Plant officials shut the facility down on Friday ahead of Hurricane Harvey making landfall, with just 11 emergency workers left behind to monitor the situation, KTRK said. Officials announced on Tuesday they had made the decision to evacuate the remaining crew.

The facility is located in a rural part of eastern Texas about 27 miles outside of Houston. The area has received over 40 inches of rain, according to KTRK.

Authorities with the Department of Homeland Security are monitoring plant temperatures remotely, according to KTRK, and say there is no imminent danger. However, they do call the risk of a fire or explosion "real."

Organic peroxide is used in everything from making polyester and silicone to Benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne medication.

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