Two people were transported to hospitals for inhalation injuries, others were treated at the site of a reported chlorine leak in Marshall County. Communities in the area were evacuated. Officials from Axiall Corporation say a rail tanker car loaded with liquid chlorine developed a leak Saturday morning inside the company's facility near Proctor, W.Va.
By early Saturday evening when air monitoring indicated the gas had dissipated, company officials gave local authorities the "all clear." Community members could return home, and traffic in and along the river could resume. Work to transfer the remaining chlorine to another rail car continues at the Natrium plant - formerly owned by PPG and now by Atlanta-based Axiall.
Many questions remain unanswered about the event. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is working with company crews and the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate how the accident occurred. How much chlorine was released and over what period of time is still unreported. Community members are also asking why a warning siren didn't sound.
Updated at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
Axiall Corporation just released a statement saying the two workers who were hospitalized because of exposure to chlorine gas have been released, and that traffic is cleared to resume on Route 7 in Ohio, and Route 2 in West Virginia, as well as boat traffic along the Ohio River.
Updated at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
Statement released from Atlanta-based Axiall Corporation:
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.
Updated at 12:50 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
Two people have been transported to the hospital for inhalation injuries; four or five are being treated on-site, according to Kelley Gillenwater at the state's Department of Environmental Protection.
A rail car at the Axiall site in Marshall County has been reported as the the leak. DEP reports the capacity of the car is estimated to be about 30,000 gallons of pressurized liquid chlorine. The leak was reported at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, but how much chlorine was released is still unclear.
Marshall County emergency officials are reporting a chlorine leak in the northern panhandle along the Ohio River is under control, but a cloud of that resulted from the leak is still moving south toward New Martinsville. Communities continue to be evacuated, but state emergency officials say the cloud is dissipating.
Updated at 11:16 a.m. Saturday, August 27
On Ohio side - state route 7 is shut down; voluntary evacuation, according to Monroe County Sheriff Department.
Law enforcement officials in Marshall County say there’s an uncontrolled chlorine leak at the Axiall plant along Route 2. The leak is about 26 miles south of Wheeling. Route 2 has been shut down and communities to the south, including Kent, West Virginia, are being evacuated. We’ll have more updates as we receive them.