Wacker issues 'shelter in place' order, 5 days after major accident

(Image: WTVC)

Authorites at Wacker in Charleston tells NewsChannel 9 the company issued an internal "shelter in place" order Tuesday morning. The company says it was due to the presence of residual chemicals involved in last Thursday's accident which sent a total of 13 people to the hospital.

Wacker tells us that the shelter in place order was for the company only, and that the nearby community was not in any danger.

But, people who live nearby are complaining about communication with the company.

Tracey Fernandez said, "Last week we did get mixed signals."

Mary Ellen Paul says, "There's been no communication whatsoever."

Paul got a call about the danger in the air last week from her church, but says she lives so close to the plant she could see more than the cloud of steam people in the vicinity saw last week.

She described blue and yellow colors that she saw in the air before the mushroom steam cloud appeared.

What the company later said was hydrochloric acid in the air gave Paul a sore throa and lead her to evacuate her home.

Even though the company told NewsChannel 9 the public was not in danger Tuesday morning, she says she would have liked to know what all the commotion was about sooner.

Here is the full statement about the incident by spokesman William Toth:

This morning we detected a slight elevation of residual chemicals stemming from the September 7 incident at the WACKER site in Charleston, Tennessee.
According to emergency protocol and precautionary measures, WACKER issued an onsite shelter in place, which has been lifted. There was no risk to the community or employees.
Safety is our top priority along with the care and well-being of our employees and our community. Our commitment to safety remains our primary focus.

Troy Spence, Bradley County EMA Director, says alarms are going off at Wacker, but there is no danger to the community.

Spence says Wacker employees were working on damaged pipes, setting off the alarms.

He says the community is still on edge after last week's incident.

UPDATE: The alarm stopped going off shortly after noon Tuesday.

Related | Explosion at Wacker Chemical Plant rocks community

Related | What exactly was the chemical in the air after Wacker explosion Thursday?

This is a developing story. Depend on us to bring you details as we get them.

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