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  1. #21
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    300 Firefighters on the scene waiting for the situation to be assessed to know what they can do. They did swoop in as soon as the fire started and got the people out of the plant according to a truck driver who was asleep in his truck across from the plant and awakened by firefighters and escorted out of the area. A few minutes after the driver was escorted out of his truck where he had been sleeping he heard the explosions which were the barrels of material exploding and the smoke was moving south. He told the firefighters to take him north.

    So far no reports of deaths. Several taken to hospital with respiratory problems and one is pretty serious.

    They have evacuated 15,000 people so far.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Update:

    There will be ash type fall out on cars, streets and in rain run-off so they will have to prepare to keep the chemicals from entering streams and water supplies.

    The plume is moving and additional areas will need to be evacuated.

    9 police officers and 1 firefighter are at the hospital with respiratory problems. Their condition is not known at this time. The don't know how many other people may be at the hospitals.

    The fire has spread to a neighboring property with 4 oil storage tanks so now they're worried they might catch on fire.

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  3. #23
    Senior Member lsmith1338's Avatar
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    I do hope our members will heed the warnings and evacuation notices and that they are all safe. Will watch this thread and the news for updates.
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  4. #24
    Senior Member sippy's Avatar
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    I just heard about this on the radio coming in from work.
    Be careful MW and all those who are close to this area.
    "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. " Albert Einstein.

  5. #25
    Senior Member JohnB2012's Avatar
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    I'll bet Bob's Army Surplus will be out of gas masks by noon!




  6. #26
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    Moved from General Discussion

  7. #27
    Senior Member JohnB2012's Avatar
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    http://www.wral.com/news/10012555/detail.html

    Rain Helps Clear Air After Apex Chemical Fire
    Hazmat Teams Inspecting Plant


    APEX, N.C. -- A steady rain Friday morning helped wash contaminated particulate matter out of the skies over Apex, about 12 hours after a chemical fire forced the evacuation of as many as 17,000 local residents.

    A leak at the EQ North Carolina plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air around 9 p.m. Thursday. A large fire broke out at the plant afterward, sending flames more than 100 feet into the night sky and setting off multiple explosions.

    EQ is a licensed hazardous-waste facility that serves businesses. The exact materials involved in the fire are not known, but the plant was known to handle some materials such as sulfur, pesticides and chlorine.

    WRAL's Melissa Buscher, who was able to get near the scene Friday morning, said the area smelled like "burned rubber." She also noticed smoldering debris and bent-up metal on Investment Boulevard.

    Apex and Wake County officials declared a state of emergency early Friday and evacuated about 17,000 people -- more than half of the town -- within hours.

    The evacuation area is bordered by U.S. Highway 1, N.C. Highway 55 and U.S. Highway 64. N.C. 55 has been closed to traffic.

    The chemical plume produced by the plant fire had spread across the town overnight, moving as far as the Eva Perry Library, near the intersection of U.S. 64 and Lake Pine Road. But officials said rain was flushing the contamination out of the air.

    "The prognosis is optimistic as far as clearing the air," Mayor Keith Weatherly said. "The rain is potentially dissipating the particulates in the air."

    Green Hope High School, at 2500 Carpenter-Upchurch Road in Cary, dismissed students at 9:35 a.m. to accommodate evacuees.

    Hundreds of residents who were sent to Olive Chapel Elementary School and Turner Creek Elementary School overnight after being ordered to leave their homes were expected to be moved to Green Hope High after lunch. Officials said they wanted to have a centralized shelter set up that could care for residents for several days, if needed.

    Hazmat crews were set to begin inspecting the EQ plant at about 10 a.m. Friday, Weatherly said. Firefighters stayed away from the blaze overnight because the combination of darkness and the chemical cloud made it too dangerous.

    "This is the worst possible hazardous materials incident you could have," Town Manager Bruce Radford said.

    Radford said the fire appeared to be dying down Friday morning. He attributed that to the rain and the fact that most of the combustible material in the plant had been consumed.

    The Wake County 911 center has received hundreds of calls regarding the Apex fire. Officials stressed that 911 should be reserved for emergency calls, and residents are urged to direct their non-emergency calls to the Wake County Emergency Operations Center at 919-856-7044.

    Downtown, Schools Closed
    Apex's central business district, including Town Hall, was closed Friday. Radford said anyone in the area without a legitimate reason would be arrested.

    Many local schools also were closed Friday, officials said, and no school buses were running in Apex. Selma Elementary School and Salem Middle School are open, but parents have had to arrange other transportation.

    Radford warned residents wandering the streets late Thursday and early Friday to get inside, saying that walking in the smoke would endanger people's lives.

    "There are all grades of contaminated materials in this smoke and the fire," he said. "If you see this smoke, get away from it."



    Evacuation is still recommended within the area bounded by U.S. 1, N.C. 55 and U.S. 64 highways in Apex and unincorporated areas.


    Eight law enforcement officers and one firefighter were treated for respiratory distress at hospitals in Cary and Raleigh, Radford said. Four officers were listed in good condition Friday morning, and the other officers and the firefighter were treated and released.

    About 20 Apex residents complaining of respiratory difficulties went to the emergency rooms at Rex Hospital in Raleigh and WakeMed hospitals in Cary and Raleigh, officials said.

    WakeMed Cary Hospital officials said that at 10 people had visited their emergency room with illnesses related to the fire. Also, 90 residents of Rex Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center of Apex were brought to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

    A state Medical Assistance Team set up a decontamination chamber outside the hospital in case firefighters, residents or others came in contact with hazardous materials.

    Prolonged direct inhalation of chlorine gas could cause sickness or even death, authorities said. Chest pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing are among the symptoms that might be experienced.

    Fire Difficult To Battle
    Firefighters were unable to approach the blaze for hours after it ignited because of the explosions and hazardous chemicals. Crews started staging for various scenarios and planned to move into the area around daybreak, Radford said.

    "We want to get in there as quickly as we can, but we're not going to endanger anyone," Radford said. "Rather than put water or foam on the fire, it's better to let the fire burn itself out so we don't create a large hazardous area on the ground."

    Weatherly said the fire had spread to a nearby petroleum farm and had ignited four storage tanks containing a total of about 200,000 gallons of fuel. Officials were unsure if the fire had spread beyond that, however, he said.

    Officials said they don't have any idea how long the fire might burn.

    A plane tried to fly over the plant early Friday morning to assess the situation but had to return to the airport because of adverse weather.

    Authorities initially evacuated about 100 residences in the Briarcliff area and sealed off the area. Shifting winds moved the smoke in different directions throughout the night, forcing further evacuations.

    The town used a reverse-911 system to call all residences in the evacuation zone to notify people that they needed to leave, Weatherly said.

    The eastern half of Apex had been ordered to evacuate by midnight, including residents in the Haddon Hall, Surrey Meadows, Knollwood, Shepherd's Vineyard and Weatherford Green subdivisions. Residents in the Sterling Buckingham subdivison were added to the evacuation Friday morning.

    "It was one of the most frightening moments I've ever had," one woman said of hearing the explosions and receiving the evacuation order.

    Weatherly declared a state of emergency in Apex at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, and Wake County declared a state of emergency about two hours later for unincorporated areas around Apex.

    The declarations will make it easier for the town to apply for federal emergency aid, if needed, officials said.

    Authorities had to move their command post three times to get downwind of the explosions and gas plume. The town's 911 center was relocated from the police department downtown to Apex Elementary School.

    Flights into and leaving Raleigh-Durham International Airport were being rerouted to at least 5 miles from downtown Apex to avoid the fire and explosions, officials said.

    The Raleigh Fire Department Hazardous Response Team arrived at the scene shortly after 10:30 p.m. to aid Apex authorities. Over 300 firefighters from Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs and other jurisdictions also assisted in the effort.

    The state Air Toxics Analytical Support Team was brought to the area early Friday to help monitor the air quality following the chlorine gas leak and fire and develop a plan of action.

    Evacuees Fill Shelters
    Firefighters spent much of the night making sure they had the proper equipment to handle various scenarios. Radford said authorities would rely on air quality experts to determine when it was safe to go back into the area around the EQ plant.



    WRAL
    Residents of the eastern side of Apex settled into shelters at two area schools early Friday morning after leaving their homes.


    All residents within a one-mile radius of Investment Blvd and Sheffelein Road were evacuated to Olive Chapel Elementary on Olive Chapel Road.

    Apex residents who weren't evacuated were asked to turn off their air conditioners and stay indoors with doors and windows closed until further notice.

    Around 250 residents had taken refuge at Olive Chapel Elementary by 4:30 a.m. Authorities also opened a second shelter at Turner Creek Elementary. Officials are also asking residents to seek temporary residence at hotels elsewhere in Wake County or with relatives if shelters are full.

    Local Red Cross volunteers arrived at the shelters early Friday to provide food, water, blankets, cots and other items to evacuees.

    "Schools are community centers, and we're here to serve the community," Olive Chapel Elementary Principal Melissa Burns said.

    All school activities at Apex Elementary, Apex Middle, Apex High, Baucom Elementary, Lufkin Road Middle, Olive Chapel Elementary and Turner Creek Elementary schools have been cancelled Friday, Wake County Schools officials said. St. Mary Magdalene School and several day-care centers also canceled classes.

    School district officials said they are closely monitoring the situation and would update the district Web site later Friday morning with information about the fire's impact on other area schools.

    Company Had Past Problems
    EQ officials arrived at the scene early Friday and provided an inventory of the materials at the plant. Pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals were stored inside, Apex officials said.

    The Wayne, Mich.-based company offers services to a variety of institutions that have hazardous chemicals and other materials that must be disposed of according to state and federal regulations. The facility is federally licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

    Cregg Johnson, a truck driver who hauls materials to and from EQ, said he was sleeping in his tractor-trailer cab outside the plant Thursday night when a firefighter pulled him out to evacuate as part of the building was engulfed in flames.

    "As we were headed off, barrels started blowing, and it just sounded like thunder," Johnson said. "I saw black smoke in the air and it was going south, and I told the firefighters I was heading north."

    He said he had to leave his tractor-trailer full of flammable household chemicals, including paints and paint thinner, parked outside the plant.

    EQ's Web site states that the company serves "R&D facilities, educational institutions, manufacturing companies, government agencies, hospital and medical facilities."

    State environmental officials fined EQ $32,000 in March for failing to minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous-waste materials or implement a contingency plan for a possible release.

    EQ spokesman Robert Doyle said the fire was unrelated to the previous fine. The company has a "very robust" safety plan, including extensive training, Doyle said.

    Town officials were unaware of the fine and planned to discuss the matter with state officials, Weatherly said.

    "It certainly would have been prudent for us to have been aware," he said.

    State regulators inspect the plant four times a month, and Weatherly said he had been informed that EQ had no violations in its latest inspection, on Sept. 28-29.

    A company at the same Investment Boulevard address, Enviro-Chem Environmental Services Inc., was fined $131,000 by state inspectors in February 2001 for a series of violations, including storing hazardous waste in an unpermitted area and failure to properly secure the facility.

    In August 2005, a large explosion and fire rocked an EQ plant near Detroit. More than 1,000 nearby residents were evacuated.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB2012
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    Thanx JOHN.

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  9. #29
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    I'm about 20 miles away and there doesn't seem to be any problem. We're having a pretty stiff wind this evening so that should probably help disperse any fumes.

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