Friday, October 21, 2016

Massive chemical spill at MGP Ingredients in Atchinson causes evacuations in Kansas


Massive chemical spill
at MGP Ingredients in Atchinson causes evacuations in Kansas

Updated: Friday, October 21, 2016 @ 12:50 PM
Published: Friday, October 21, 2016 @ 12:35 PM
By: Theresa Seiger - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A plume of leaked chemicals enveloped a Kansas city Friday morning after a major chemical spill was reported, prompting city officials to order residents to shelter in place and ask visitors to stay away.

The spill was reported at MGP Ingredients in Atchinson, between 10th and 14th streets, south of Main Street. City officials warned residents to keep windows closed, furnaces off and themselves indoors.

"If you are not in Atchison, please stay out of town," Atchison County emergency management officials said.

Medical officials at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, Missouri, said in a statement that they were made aware of the chemical spill around 9 a.m. CDT.

The plume "covered good portions of the city throughout the morning," but dissapted steadily, Atchinson City Manager Trey Cocking said. People were being allowed back into their homes within about three hours of the initial report, which was made around 8 a.m.

At least 18 people were treated for "respiratory discomfort," five of which were city employees, Cocking said. All the injuries appeared to be minor.

City officials told KSHB that the chemical leaked appeared to be airborne chlorine powder, however; MGP officials did not immediately confirm the substance.

"The plume developed when two chemicals were mixed with each other," Cocking said. "It appears inadvertantly and during the delivery process. ... One chemical was (delivered) and inadvertantly put in the wrong holding tank, which caused the reaction."

Authorities did not immediately identify the mixed chemicals. City officials are working with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Chlorine can be damaging if inhaled. It can cause airway irritation, wheezing, difficulty breathing and skin irritation, among other things.

The company involved in the leak produces distilled alcohol products, industrial alcohol and wheat proteins and starches, according to its website.
Atchinson is a city on the Missouri River, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City.