Arkema CEO and plant manger charged with reckless release of che

Arkema CEO and plant manger charged with reckless release of chemicals

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Executives from the chemical plant company Arkema face a judge following their federal indictment.

The company CEO Richard Rowe and Crosby Plant Manager Leslie Comardelle are charged with reckless release of chemicals.

There were explosions and days of fires after Hurricane Harvey flood waters knocked out a generator meant to keep the chemicals properly refrigerated. 200 people had to be evacuated and at least 21 first responders were injured after breathing in fumes.

The Federal Chemical Safety Board reported the company had safety measures in place, but didn't prepare for Harvey.

Prosecutors argue the incidents could have been prevented.

"Arkema did not have a flood plan. What they had was a plan that recklessly assumed that they would never experience more flooding than they had in the past," Harris County District Attorney's OFC, Alexander Forrest, said.

"To say that somehow, people that tried to save the community and the plant committed a crime, is unbelievable," Defense Attorney, Randy Hardin, said.

Hardin said the company had three backups for the chemicals, and all failed.

He said that's due to Harvey's flooding and not a lack of planning.

The charge carries penalties of up to five years in prison for the men named in the indictment, and up to $1 million in fines for the company.

The next hearing is scheduled for October.

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