Houston flood: 'Dangerous' Smoke Plume From Arkema Plant (Video) - FOW 24 NEWS

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Houston flood: 'Dangerous' Smoke Plume From Arkema Plant (Video)

A plume of smoke seen issuing from a flood-damaged chemical plant near the storm-hit US city of Houston is "incredibly dangerous", the head of the US emergency agency Fema has said....
Brock Long said officials were still trying to evaluate the situation at Arkema's chemical plant in Crosby.
The company said there was a fire on site but no release of chemicals, and more fires and blasts were expected.

A police officer at the site was hospitalised after inhaling fumes.

Nine others admitted themselves as a precaution.

Residents living within a 1.5-mile (2.4km) radius of the plant were evacuated after the company warned there was a risk of explosions and fire.

During heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, the complex lost the ability to refrigerate chemical compounds that need to be kept cool.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington, Mr Long said it was not clear whether his staff could get into the plant to assess to full impact of the incident.

"The bottom line is that we do what's called plume modelling and that's what we base a lot of the evacuations on. And so, by all means, yes, the plume is incredibly dangerous," he said.
At least 33 people have been killed in eastern Texas in the aftermath of the storm, which the US National Weather Service has now downgraded to a tropical depression.

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Heavy rainfall is expected from Louisiana to Kentucky over the next three days, and flood warnings remain in effect for south-east Texas and parts of south-west Louisiana.

US energy supplies have been hit, as oil companies shut down refineries and part of a major pipeline in the Houston area.
What happened at the chemical plant?

The Arkema chemical plant, 21 miles from Houston, shut down production on Friday before the storm made landfall.

But 40in (102cm) of rainfall in the area flooded the site and cut off its power, the company said. Back-up generators were also flooded.
The facility manufactures organic peroxides, compounds used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials, which can become dangerous at higher temperatures.

Harris County and company officials said there had been no massive explosions at the site, as originally reported, but a fire in part of a container.

Pressure valves in the container had been released causing a popping sound, they said.

The last remaining workers at the site were evacuated on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary ban on flights near the plant.

Is the plant still dangerous?

Richard Rennard, a senior executive of Arkema, said substances in another eight containers were expected to decompose in the same way as the first. He did not rule out explosions during the decomposition.

He would not say whether the smoke produced in the chemical reaction was toxic but said that it was "noxious" and anyone who inhaled it should seek medical advice.

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"It's not a chemical release that's happening. I want to be clear about that. What we have is a fire."

Mr Rennard added that he did not know how long the product would take to degrade.

"We don't want people returning back to homes thinking it's over," he said. "It's not over."
How are flood rescue efforts progressing?

Parts of Texas have been hit by more than 50in of rainfall since Hurricane Harvey landed on 25 August, setting new records before it was downgraded to a tropical storm and, late on Wednesday, to a tropical depression.

Firefighters were due to begin a door-to-door search of badly flooded areas of Houston on Thursday, to rescue survivors who are still stranded and recover the bodies of those who have died.
Houston flood: 'Dangerous' Smoke Plume From Arkema Plant (Video) Reviewed by FOW 24 News on August 31, 2017 Rating: 5 A plume of smoke seen issuing from a flood-damaged chemical plant near the storm-hit US city of Houston is "incredibly dangerous"...

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