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Two explosions reported at chemical plant flooded during Hurricane Harvey

Two explosions reported at chemical plant flooded during Hurricane Harvey

Two explosions and black smoke were reported as coming from a flooded chemical plant in Texas early Thursday, FOX 26 reports.

Several deputies from the Harris County Sheriff's office were hospitalized for inhaling toxic chemicals.

Tropical Storm Harvey's flood waters knocked out power to refrigerators at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, according to the CEO of the company's North America unit.

"We have an unprecedented 6ft of water at the plant", Rowe said.

Residents within a 1.5-mile radius of the facility, which is about 27 miles east of Houston, have been told to leave, Harris County Fire Marshal's Office told ABC News.

The plant in Crosby, Texas which is about 20 miles northeast of Houston received more than 40 inches of rain by Hurricane Harvey and has been without electricity since Sunday.

People are advised not to return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities say it is safe to do so. But some of those organic peroxides also burn above a certain temperature and are "extremely flammable", according to Arkema's statement.

Because of the power loss, the facility is unable to refrigerate highly volatile materials, which "could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire", Rowe continued.

He said the black smoke produced would irritate skin, eyes and lungs. Arkema released a public statement saying local officials have been briefed on the situation, and that it would be best if fires at the plant are allowed to burn themselves out.

The company expects additional explosions as the other vans combust, Carr said. KHOU also reported that officials believe the 1.5-mile evacuation zone surrounding the plant that is now in place will be sufficient.

With no power and refrigeration for some days the chemicals at the plant heated up and thereafter burned.

Arkema manufactures organic peroxides at the Crosby plant. Flooding has also compromised those backup containers, although the company continues to monitor temperature levels remotely, Reuters reported.

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