October 06, 2006

Chemical Fire Forces NC Town's Evacuation


Didn't get too much sleep last night. I was glued to the television, trying to guess how bad a chemical fire in a neighboring town was going to get and whether or not we'd need to evacuate:

Shifting winds forced Apex officials to expand an evacuation area early Friday to protect residents from a chemical gas plume that continued to spread from an industrial fire that has raged since late Thursday.

Town Manager Bruce Radford said a leak at the EQ North Carolina plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air around 9 p.m. Thursday. A large fire broke out at the plant afterward, sending flames more than 100 feet into the night sky and setting off multiple explosions.

EQ is a licensed hazardous-waste facility that serves businesses

Apex and Wake County officials declared a state of emergency early Friday and evacuated about 16,000 people -- half of Apex -- within hours.

The fire started shortly after a chlorine gas leak was detected. As of now, the fire is still burning, and firefighters have rightly decided it would be safer to let it burn itself out. The sun is coming up and the winds going to shift, possibly forcing more evacuations.

EQ, the company that blew up, had closed and the last employee had left by 7:00 PM. The chlorine gas leak was detected around 9:00 PM and the fire came shortly afterward.

It is too early to determine a cause.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 6, 2006 06:23 AM | TrackBack