More fires at Crosby plant

As expected, fire has broken out in volatile organic peroxides at the Arkema plant in Crosby. Plumes of black smoke could be seen late Friday afternoon miles from the plant.

Since a fire early Thursday morning sent 15 Harris County sheriff's deputies to the hospital after they inhaled fumes, the plant has been under a round-the-clock watch. Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said earlier in the week that fires or explosions at the facility were inevitable and could not be prevented.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey knocked out power and generators needed to keep the unstable chemicals stored there cool. The chemicals can burst into flames and violently rupture their containers if they get too warm, officials said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long called fumes from the burning chemicals "incredibly dangerous," but Arkema President Richard Rennard simply called them noxious.

"If you breathe in the smoke, it's going to irritate your lungs," he said.

 This page will be updated as the story develops.

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