Chemical spill at W.Va. plant sends 1 worker to hospital, triggers lockdown for 200 residents

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shelter order for 200 lifted after WVa toxic spill

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A factory employee was treated for exposure to a toxic chemical Tuesday and about 200 people were ordered to stay indoors for several hours after a railroad tanker leak.

Huntington Fire Chief Tim Provaznik said the injured worker was taken to a hospital for observation after 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of liquid aniline spilled while being unloaded at the Flint Group Pigments plant.

Aniline, used in manufacturing polyurethane, is toxic if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or swallowed.

Three businesses also were evacuated and six blocks of U.S. 60 were closed to traffic, Provaznik said.

The order to remain indoors was issued in the morning and lifted shortly after 1 p.m., according to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The leak was contained and a crew from the state Department of Environmental Protection was sent to supervise the cleanup, agency spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said.

The cause of the spill remained under investigation.

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