PROCTOR, W.Va. (AP) - Officials are investigating the cause of a chlorine leak at a chemical plant near Proctor, West Virginia.
The incident occurred Saturday after 33,000 gallons of liquid chlorine leaked from a railcar inside Axiall Corp.'s Natrium chemical plant. The resulting cloud forced hundreds in the area from their homes.
Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater says that local, state and federal officials are working to analyze the cause of the incident. She says the chlorine gas has since dissipated and the risk to the environment resulting from the leak is expected to be minimal.
Operations at the chemical plant were going on as normal on Monday.
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Wetzel County Dispatch tells WTAP the evacuated areas of New Martinsville and Proctor are now clear, and residents can go back to their homes.
This comes just about 8 hours after the initial report of the chlorine leak.
UPDATE: Axiall Releases Statement
Axiall Corporation (AXLL) statement: At approximately 8:40 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, a rail tanker car loaded with liquid chlorine developed a leak inside the Axiall Natrium chemical facility, which is located in Marshall County near Proctor, W.Va. The rail car is no longer leaking. Hazmat crews are on site and are evaluating the railcar and area of the leak. The Natrium plant was evacuated and is currently shut down.
Nearby communities in Proctor and Kent, Ohio, and northern New Martinsville, W.Va. were evacuated and state highway 7 in Ohio and highway 2 in West Virginia, as well as the Ohio River, were closed to vehicle traffic. Nearby industrial plants were ordered to have their employees shelter in place.
One Axiall employee and a contract worker were transported to offsite
hospitals for treatment; others were treated at an onsite health facility.
Crews are working on cleaning a chlorine spill in Wetzel County.
The spill happened at the Axiall Plant in Proctor, West Virginia. That is about 9 miles north of New Martinsville.
The leak came from a company tanker vehicle.
The spill released a cloud into the air.
Officials say two people were taken to the hospital with upper respiratory problems.
Wetzel County 911 says the leak is contained, but the area is not safe at this time.
Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office says Route 2 is closed near the plant. Route 7 is also closed down.
The northern part of New Martinsville has been evacuated. A couple hundred residents have been taken to Magnolia High School for shelter.
Stay tuned to WTAP-TV, TheNewsCenter.TV & the TNC Now app for more information as it becomes available.
West Virginia State Police confirm a chemical leak in New Martinsville, and now river traffic is halted.
They confirm the chemical leak originated from the Axiall Plant in Wetzel County.
It happened around 9AM Saturday morning, and now traffic in the Ohio River is being halted.
State Police did not confirm how large the spill is, and how far along the river traffic is halted.
We will keep you updated as we receive more information.