Chemical spill shuts down portion of Texas 347; leads to evacuation

Published 7:28 pm Friday, June 6, 2008

BEAUMONT — Residents surrounding the area of a chemical leak Friday have no cause to be alarmed, officials said.

Beaumont firefighters were called out to a chemical leak just before 10 a.m. to the UPS Freight warehouse at 6385 Texas 347 Friday morning, Capt. Brad Penisson of the Beaumont Fire Department said.

The incident occurred when workers were moving five 120- to 150-gallon, 200-pound cylinders of anhydrous chloride — a toxic material that’s an inhalation hazard. It can also be absorbed through the skin. A valve on one of the cylinders was struck, damaging the valve and releasing the chemical in the warehouse.

Employees were immediately evacuated and no injuries were reported. Two businesses north of the UPS facility that were downwind from the leak were evacuated as well.

The hazardous material team of the Beaumont Fire Department was called out and motorists were asked to avoid FM 347 near U.S. 69. A portion of FM 347 and the off-ramp from U.S. 69 to 347 were closed to traffic for a short time.

Penisson said the haz mat team controlled the leak. The manufacturer of the product was contacted for instructions on how to clean up the scene. Penisson added there was no immediate danger to the surrounding area and high winds caused the substance to dissipate.

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