Officials monitoring chemical plant after explosion

The Arkema Inc. chemical plant is flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey in Crosby, Texas on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Godofredo A. Vasquez / Houston Chronicle)

By Frank Bajak And Reese Dunklin, The Associated Press, September 1, 2017 

HOUSTON — At least 2 tons of highly unstable chemicals used in such products as plastics and paint exploded and burned at a flood-crippled plant near Houston, sending up a plume of acrid black smoke that stung the eyes and lungs.

The blaze that began early Thursday at the Arkema Inc. chemical plant burned out around midday, but emergency crews continued to hold back because of the danger that eight other trailers containing the same compound could blow, too.

No serious injuries were reported. But the blast added a new hazard to Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath and raised questions about the adequacy of the company’s master plan to protect the public in the event of an emergency in the flood-prone Houston metropolitan area of 5.6 million people.

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