New fire erupts at flood-damaged Texas chemical plant

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A raging fire and thick black smoke rose from Arkema SA’s flood-damaged Texas chemical plant on Friday evening, according to video aired on Houston television stations and broadcaster CNN.

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The company said earlier on Friday that it expected additional fires from the plant in the coming days even though floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey that triggered an initial blaze earlier this week were receding.

Authorities had evacuated residents in a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) radius around the Arkema plant on Wednesday.

Refrigeration units for tanks of volatile organic peroxide on site were still without power a week after Harvey made landfall in Texas as a hurricane. When the chemicals warm up, they are liable to ignite, the company said.

Company officials said they believed the best option was to allow the chemicals to burn out.

Around 5 p.m. CT (2200 GMT), CNN and Houston TV stations showed a small fire that quickly grew into an inferno, spewing thick columns of black smoke.

Harris County Emergency Management officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Attempts to reach the Crosby Fire Department were not successful.

Arkema officials said there could be days of fires at the 49-year-old plant in Crosby, about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Houston. Eastern Texas was inundated by rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, which struck land on the Texas coast last Friday night.

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