A safety alert program came into play last week as a Charleston, TN, chemical plant temporarily shut down Wednesday morning following a chlorine leak, officials said.
“Approximately at 5 a.m., a small unintended release of chlorine occurred at the Olin plant,” said Lindsay Hathcock, the Bradley County public information officer and executive assistant to the county mayor.
It forced Olin Chlor Alkali Products workers to act fast, activating an alarm inside.
“When we became aware of the release, there was an audible alarm sounded to notify the plant personnel,” said Chris Anziano, the Olin plant manager.
Bradley and McMinn County emergency officials came to make sure nothing was dangerous. No one was hurt, but it did cause officials to stop nearby Hiwassee River traffic as a precaution.
“There was never any danger to the public ever. A small cloud approximately 40 feet, hovered over the river, which was shut down temporarily to river traffic as well,” Hathcock said.
Officials said the chlorine cleared shortly after the leak.
“The plant workers, administration followed every protocol,” Hathcock said.
Plant managers said they’ve contacted Tennessee’s environmental and wildlife agencies.
Officials said all roads reopened soon after the incident, and they said no one was in danger.
Olin released this statement to the media regarding the leak:
“Earlier today, we experienced an unintended chlorine release at our Charleston facility. There have been no exposures or injuries among our employees, all of whom are safe and carrying out their duties. We are working closely with the Bradley and McMinn County Emergency Management Authorities and supporting its measures to ensure the public is not affected, which included temporarily suspending traffic on the Hiwassee River, which has been reopened.”
Officials are working to determine what caused the chlorine leak.