Houston News & Search
Photo: Google Maps
For Alicia Garcia and her family, the horror started with the water gushing through their southeast Texas home in Dayton early Sunday morning. It rose to their knees, forcing their evacuation to a nearby church. But that was only the beginning.
After days in the shelter, they returned home late Wednesday, only to find that they were four miles from a pending explosion at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby.
Crosby officials are bracing for a virtually inevitable explosion at the plant where floodwaters knocked out power and generators needed to keep volatile chemicals stored at the facility cool.
All employees at the plant had been evacuated already late Tuesday, as were residents from about 300 homes within a mile and a half of the plant.
At a press news conference Wednesday, Rich Rowe, Arkema’s CEO, said that if the volatile organic peroxides stored at the plant get too warm, some sort of explosion will happen.
“There is no way to prevent an explosion or fire,” Rowe said.
But Garcia said she and her family weren’t told anything about it.
“We found out about the plant today through a friend,” she said through text message late Wednesday. “We are just outside the evacuation radius but even if we wanted to leave, FM 1413, the only road in and out of the neighborhood, is flooded.”
After days of torrential rain and a harrowing escape from flooding, it was almost too much to bear.
“It’s terrifying,” the 19-year-old said.
She criticized the company for not disclosing the plant’s volume of chemicals and describing the evacuation zone as sufficient, even though the Federal Aviation Administration has barred flights over the area.
“But homes two miles away are safe?” Garcia questioned. “(The company) is showing no thought to the possibility of the explosions being worse than expected and hasn’t entertained the thought that chemicals can have long-term effects.”
Garcia said she felt that news coverage of the explosion had been sparse and awareness even dimmer.
“It’s frustrating not to know what’s going on while we’re at home like sitting ducks,” she said.
The family hopes water will recede by Thursday. Then they will once again escape their home, only this time not from the rain.
Matt Dempsey contributed to this report.
Houston News & Search