A judge dropped several counts Monday in a criminal trial charging Arkema Inc. and three employees with criminally misrepresenting the danger from a Hurricane Harvey-related fire and chemical release.
The charges relate to two Harris County sheriff’s deputies sickened which enforcing a 1.5-mile radius around the plant. Ultimately, 21 people sought treatment for exposure to fumes from the fire.
Arkema and its former vice president of logistics, Michael Keough, each faced a felony assault charge related to the injured deputies. However, prosecutors last week filed motions to dismiss the assault charges.
CEO Richard Rowe and former plant manager Leslie Comardelle, remain charged with felony air pollution, face up to five years in prison related to the Arkema emergency. Keough faced a sentence of two to 10 years on the dismissed charges.
In August 2017, heavy flooding at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby caused the plant to lose power to its low temperature warehouses. Workers moved 350 pounds of volatile organic peroxides to refrigerated trailers. However, refrigeration in three of the trailers failed due to continued flooding, which ignited flames inside