From: Associated Press
Published November 2, 2004 12:00 AM

About 65 Families Are Still Evacuated Because of Last Week's Chemical Spill in West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, West Virginia — About 65 families remained out of their homes Monday as crews worked to clean up the remnants of 22,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals that spilled last week from a railroad tanker.

Two schools also remained closed Monday.

Thirty-four families have been out of their homes since Thursday's spill of flammable coal tar distillates, Fire Department Deputy Chief Jerry Beckett said.

They were among some 2,000 people who had to leave their homes immediately after the spill. Occupants of about 30 houses who had been able to return home had to leave again Sunday evening because rising temperature and humidity raised the level of the chemicals in the air.

"We will not let them back in until we are positive they are safe," Beckett.


The spill happened at TechSol Chemical Co. as workers were about to transfer the oily mixture of toluene, benzene, xylene, and styrene to a tank truck for shipment to a refinery in nearby Kentucky. One of the tanker's valves was apparently defective, TechSol said.

The chemicals leaked into a creek and a sewer system, initially prompting fears of an explosion. State environmental officials also were concerned about air quality.

Source: Associated Press

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