Preliminary 2D Animation of Events Leading to 2017 Fire at Arkema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas

U.S. Chemical Safety Board, November 15, 2017

Video Description

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a preliminary animation of the events surrounding the 2017 fire at Arkema's chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, which occurred during Hurrican Harvey.

The facility manufactures and distributes organic peroxides used to produce consumer products, such as solid surface countertops and polystyrene cups and plates. Organic peroxides are reactive chemicals and some of those stored at the Arkema plant must be kept at temperatures below 20 degrees fahrenheit to prevent them from decomposing and catching fire. These low temperature organic peroxides are stored in temperature controlled warehouses and are shipped in refrigerated trailers.

In response to conditions brought on by Hurricane Harvey, Arkema employed process safety management procedures to ensure these chemicals were stored at proper temperatures. However, heavy rain and historic flooding led to complete power failure at the facility and the evacuation of all employees. Without power, the cooling systems were no longer operable. As a result, the temperature of the chemicals rose above 20 degrees fahrenheit, which led to the ensuing fire.

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