Few people had heard of Arkema or its Crosby, Texas chemical plant before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey. However, after being flooded with over six feet of water, the plant’s power system experienced catastrophic failure, resulting in several large explosions that displaced numerous families in the area surrounding the plant.
On Thursday, August 31, 2017, the plant experienced the first of numerous explosions and fires. The plant was storing organic peroxides, which are extremely volatile chemicals. In order for peroxides to be stored safely, they must be kept at a controlled temperature. Unfortunately, the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey caused both the plant’s primary and secondary power systems to fail. The plant was keeping the peroxides in nine separate 18-wheeler box vans, each one holding 36,000 pounds of organic peroxide. After power was knocked out at the plant, it was only a matter of time before the chemicals caused massive explosions.
When families around the Arkema chemical plant were evacuated, they had no idea how long they would be out of their homes. This unexpected displacement caused a financial hardship on families trying to rebuild their homes after the hurricane while preparing their children for the upcoming school year. Additionally, the evacuation prevented homeowners from cleaning and drying out their flooded homes, causing many of them to develop dangerous black mold before homeowners had the opportunity to prevent its growth.
A History Of Violations
The Arkema chemical plant has had a long history of violating federal and state safety and environmental regulations. The plant was rocked by an explosion in 1999 caused by the same type of chemicals as the latest explosions, organic peroxides.
In 2006, state officials fined the plant after a fire released 32,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide into the air. Just five years later, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality fined the plant over $20,000 for failing to keep a thermal oxidizer at the proper temperature. The plant’s most recent violation was found this past February when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found 10 serious safety violations at the plant. OSHA fined the plant $90,000 for these violations that would “most likely result in death or serious physical harm.”
How A Lawyer Can Help
The Arkema chemical plant has a history of disregard for the safety and wellbeing of its workers and neighboring area residents. Families displaced by the explosions have a right to seek compensation for the cost of their displacement from Arkema. If the Crosby plant explosion displaced you, partner with the lawyers at Blizzard & Nabers LLP. We can pursue compensation on your behalf so you can focus on rebuilding. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. There is no upfront cost for working with us.