The cause of a chemical spill that forced thousands to shelter in place in the Kanawha Valley in South Charleston, WV, remains unknown and under investigation.
The Clearon plant manager, Scott Johnson, said chlorine released from its facility Wednesday at 8:25 a.m. and 118 employees were at the plant at the time of the release. Johnson said no one suffered a serious injury, but one employee ended up at hospital due to stress. That employee is now back at work.
Kanawha County Emergency Management has been on scene since the initial call. OSHA is also on scene investigating the incident.
A shelter in place call went out shortly after the incident for the area west of the Mound in South Charleston, Spring Hill, North Charleston and the city of Dunbar. They lifted the order just after 10 a.m.
Johnson said the shelter in place was only a precaution. The chemical leak was not a real threat to the public, officials said.
Mayor Frank Mullens said first responders faced some challenges at the scene, including working through crowded, tight spaces within the plant. A couple of firefighters ended up treated for heat exhaustion due to those conditions, Mullens said.
Emergency responders say the company was helpful during the leak and followed proper protocol, Mullens said.
Emergency officials say the chemical left in air is not strong enough to cause any problems or illness.
Clearon Corp. is a manufacturer and supplier of water treatment chemicals, according to the company’s website.
Clearon employs 120 people at its South Charleston facility. Clearon has been operating in South Charleston since 1995.