October 12, 2008
Chemical Leak Spurs Pa. Evacuation
Thousands of western Pennsylvania residents returned home Sunday after a dangerous chemical was released from a nearby industrial facility, officials said.
Three people were hospitalized and 2,500 residents of Karns City and Petrolia, Pa., about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, were evacuated Saturday when a low-lying cloud containing the chemical oleum, similar to sulfuric acid, escaped from the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant in Petrolia, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.After inspecting the areas of the towns affected by the cloud Sunday morning, no traces of the toxic chemical were found and residents were allowed to return, Freda Tarbell, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told CNN.
She said Indspec uses the chemical in the production process for the chemical Resorcinol, described as a strong glue used in the tire industry.
"Of course, the concern here is Â the potential for respiratory damage and skin burns, things like that," Tarbell told the Post-Gazette.