Texas Deputies Sent To Hospital After Chemical Plant Explosion

Tropical storm Harvey: authorities confirm death toll has reached 20 – live

Nearby residents have been advised to stay inside, turn off their air conditioning and close their windows and doors.

Arkema spokesman Jeff Carr said the chemicals being released into the air are not risky to people, but smoke - similar to that of a large campfire - may affect some.

The French operator of a flooded Houston-area chemical plant says a fire was caused by the degradation of chemicals lacking refrigeration in containers and that up to eight more could burn and explode.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says some deputies suffered irritated eyes from the smoke but insisted it wasn't risky.

"We're all invested heavily in this area so we're doing the best we can to not let the worst happen", Villarreal said.

Highway 90 was blocked in both directions at Crosby Eastgate, according to Houston TranStar's traffic map. The plant was flooded under more than 5 feet.

Previously, the department said 10 deputies were hospitalized after inhaling a non-toxic irritant near the plant.

Gonzalez then stated that it is "not anything toxic, it is not anything that we feel is a danger to the community at all..."

"EPA's focus is on the safety of those around the facility and we urge those in the area to follow the safety instructions of local authorities", Pruitt said. The injured deputy had respiratory problems after driving through a plume of smoke.

Arkema, which had earlier warned that more blasts could occur as rising temperatures make the compounds inside volatile and unsafe, has now said that it believed the hospitalizations were caused by a "non-toxic irritant".

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Bob Royall, assistant chief for emergency operations for the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, said: "I don't want the public thinking these are massive explosions".

"We are aware of the situation and are working with [Texas Commission on Environmental Equality], who is the lead in this situation, to support them and other state and local officials to mitigate risk to human health or the environment", an EPA spokesperson said in a statement. A resident reported hearing two consecutive explosions around 2 a.m. local time, or about 3 a.m.

According to The Telegraph, smoke and an explosion were reported today morning at the flood-hit chemical plant.

Arkema announced yesterday, August 30, 2017 that most of the refrigeration units had failed due to flooding and that the emergency "ride out" crew had evacuated the site, which can only be accessed by boat.

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

However, at least one family not far outside the 1.5-mile zone was left anxious.

Arkema's CEO, president Rich Rowe said in a statement, "The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it". That analysis factored risks based on the amount and type of risky chemicals on site and their proximity to the public.

This caused them to become volatile as temperatures rose, with one of nine containers holding the chemicals catching fire.

The chemicals are stored in 18-wheeler box vans throughout the plant.

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