Fresh chaos in Houston as Arkema chemical plant explodes

The fallout from Storm Harvey continues

Storm Harvey has caused untold damage in Houston

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The fallout from Storm Harvey continues as a chemical plant near Houston has exploded according to local media.

It is thought that the plant caught fire due to chemical compounds not being able to be refrigerated due to rain.

The Arkema plant at Crosby said it had no way of preventing the explosion, according to the BBC.

Despite closing before Storm Harvey hit, the plant was still flooded and power was cut completely as back-up generators were also affected by floodwater.

The compounds used for various materials like pharmaceuticals and construction materials are dangerous when kept at higher temperatures and CEO Richard Rowe told Reuters that smoke produced from the fire would irritate people's eyes, skin and lungs.

Residents within a 1.5 mile radius have been evacuated however this is only a precaution as the fire is expected to be contained within the plant.

A temporary ban on flights has also been put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration over the area.

The storm has now been downgraded to a tropical depression by the US National Weather Service. At least 33 people have died as a result of the storm.

More than 32,000 people are currently in emergency shelters. More rain is expected to fall in eastern Texas as well as the west of Louisiana.

Today (August 31) firefighters are set to start a door-to-door operation to rescue people who may still be stranded in flooded Houston, as well as recover any bodies.