Chemical Spill Fumes Felt 100 Miles Away

Monday, January 14, 2013 @ 03:01 PM gHale


Workers at a plant trying to remove an insecticide in pellet form warmed it to make an easier removal and blew the lid off 24 barrels of insecticide.

That explosion early last Wednesday at the Drexel Chemical Co. in Cordele, GA caused residents downwind of a chemical plant to remain indoors for awhile.

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The release ended up smelling most like a “skunk odor,” officials said.

Around 2 a.m. Crisp County fire units responded to Drexel Chemical Co. after an incident triggered a release of fumes into the air.

Officials said workers at the plant were trying to remove an insecticide called dimethoate, which was in pellet form, so they warmed it to make the removal easier. Apparently the vat got too hot and blew the lid off.

Georgia emergency management officials say at least 24, 55-gallon drums of insecticide exploded.

Health officials said the smell could cause some issues for people with respiratory problems.

“All the information we’ve received from the department of environmental management and our own research reveals that there’s no danger to the public over here because it’s over 100 miles away from us,” said Houston County, AL, EMA Director Clark Matthews.

“All these areas have experienced that odor in the air today for two reasons, one, strong winds out of the east consistently all day blowing it our way and then we’ve had very low cloud cover almost like a blanket over the top of us and that’s kept the smell close to the ground,” said Meteorologist Connor Vernon.

Officials said four people went to the hospital complaining about the smell.

Health officials say the chemical isn’t poisonous but people with respiratory problems should avoid prolonged time outdoors if they can smell the odor.

Plant officials said they cleaned up the spill.



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