Screengrab of a video taken of a fire at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, September 1, 2017.
Seven police, fire and emergency medical technicians sued Arkema in Harris County District Court for at least $1 million, alleging negligence by the company and executives led flammable organic peroxides stored at the site to ignite after the plant lost power during the storm.
Arkema defended its efforts to secure the chemicals and plant, saying in a statement that it worked with police, fire and regulatory officials to protect the plant and local residents.
“We deeply regret that anyone suffered harm as a result of the havoc wreaked on our plant by Hurricane Harvey,” it said in statement. It called the negligence suit “gravely mistaken” and said it will contest the allegations.
The seven emergency workers claim they received “serious bodily injuries” after breathing smoke released by the fire while manning an evacuation perimeter a mile and a half from the plant. The chemicals are used in the manufacture of plastics.
The company and its executives failed to protect the chemicals adequately and did not alert the emergency workers on Aug. 31, after some containers exploded, caught fire and released “toxic fumes,” the suit said.