Posted by on October 21, 2016 3:50 pm
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In a scene reminiscent of a Stephen King book, a chemical spill in Atchison, Kansas has sent a plume of what is reportedly chlorine fog into the air and spurred evaucation warnings from officials.  On social media, emergency officials warned residents to seek shelter and stay inside.

Atchison County officials are closing and evacuating the county courthouse. Benedictine College has been evacuated

“If you are not in Atchison, please stay out of town,” Atchison County Emergency Management said on Facebook.

“We don’t know what chemicals were mixed. All injuires are minor,” said Trey Cocking, Atchison City Manager.  Resident told KSHB that sirens alerted them to a problem at the plant. Primary concern now is the plume of chemicals traveling through the north of Atchison.

The spill occurred at MGP Ingredients, officials said. Headquartered in Atchison, MGP describes itself as a company where distilled alcohol products and food ingredients are produced. Authorities have not released details about what kind of chemical leaked.

Founded in 1941, MGP has about 300 employees and makes “specialty wheat proteins and starches” along with distilled spirits such as bourbon and rye whiskey, gin and vodka. The company also makes plant-based polymers for petroleum-based plastics, such as disposable cutlery and CD cases. It is headquartered in Atchison, with another distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Residents of Atchison who live north of the plant are being told to stay inside with their doors and windows shut, according to the Kansas City Star. Reporters on the scene reported a thick fog and chlorine-like smell in the area.

Images from CNN affiliate KSHB showed a thick gray plume clouding the air.

Citing Atchison’s city manager, CNN affiliate KMBC reported that the leak had been mitigated.

According to the Atchison City Manager’s Office, two chemicals were inadvertently mixed together which caused a reaction. No word yet on what two chemicals were mixed together. The leak started around 8:30 a.m. CT Friday morning. According to multiple reports, at least one of the chemicals is airborne chlorine powder.

The good news is that the threat appears to be passing, and Cocking said it was safe for everyone to return. HAZMAT is now involved.

A foam substance was used to treat the leak.

Atchison County officials are closing and evacuating the county courthouse. Benedictine College has been evacuated.

The leak has been contained.

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