Chemical spill scene secured, roads back open

Chemical spill scene secured, roads back open

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Hazmat crews are still on the scene of a chemical spill on Industrial Parkway in Laurel, but has now been contained to one area.

According to Caleb Worrell, Public Information Officer for the Jones County Fire Council, the chemical spill scene has been secured to just the property of Baker Hughes. Fire sources have been released and the roads are now open.

Worrell said 6,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked into the air at the corner of Indian Springs Road and Boots Smith Road near Howard Industries.

The first report of the spill came in around 9 p.m. on Friday.

According to Worrell, units from Calhoun Volunteer Fire Department were the first to respond, followed by several other emergency services from across the state.

The chemical spilled into the ground and air, surrounding an area close to Howard Industries. This prompted the immediate shutdown of the business.

Employees due for their shift at the plant were advised to call their supervisors for more information on when Howard's would reopen for operation. Although the chemical spill has directly effected Howard Industries and other businesses in the industrial park, the spill originated from Baker Hughes.

As of 4 a.m. Saturday both ends of Industrial Parkway are blocked to motorists at this time, and is expected to last for several more hours. A HAZMAT crew out of Jackson, Mississippi, is expected to arrive on scene as well to assist with cleanup of the chemical following its neutralization.

Following the isolation of a 150-yard radius in all directions, HAZMAT crews with Hattiesburg Fire were called to the scene to neutralize the chemical. The HAZMAT crew used a substance called sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the chemical. However, due to the mass quantity of the chemical that was spilled, the process of neutralizing it completely is ongoing.

According to Worrell, no residents living near the area need to evacuate.

A decontamination unit was set up around 1 a.m. as the hazmat crew from Hattiesburg entered the decontamination site to treat the spill. Due to very little wind in the area, at this time there is not a concern that the chemical will spread beyond the current isolated zone. An evacuation notice has not been issued for areas outside of the present isolation area.

Roads leading in and out of the industrial park area were completely shut down and blocked off to all traffic. Motorists were advised to avoid the area and find alternate routes, given the severity of the situation. Units on scene advised that all non-essential personnel had been evacuated safely from the surrounding areas.

This story is ongoing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Rescue and emergency personnel on scene includes Calhoun and Powers Volunteer Fire Departments, Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna, EMServ Ambulance Service, Jones County Sheriff's Department, Jones County Emergency Management, Jones County Fire Public Information Officer Caleb Worrell,  Laurel Fire Department, Laurel Police Department, Hattiesburg Fire Department, Mississippi Emergency Management, and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.