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Jul 18, 2010 5:30 PM by Jeff Allen, Reporter

Homes Evacuated After Chemical Leak

It was a very early morning wake-up call for some people living in Lincoln County, who were evacuated from their homes after a chemical spill.

It all happened about one o'clock Sunday morning, when the Stanford fire chief says an employee at the city's water plant was trying to close off a chlorine tank.

But in the process of doing that, he says that worker accidentally cracked a tank next to it, causing chlorine to start leaking out. That worker immediately evacuated the water plant, and hazmat crews were called in from several counties to clean it up. The fire department evacuated several homes nearby, and people were sent to a nearby school as a precaution.

"Chlorine is heavier than air, it stays down to the ground, so air doesn't move it around as well, so you'll pick it up and breathe it very easily, and it's very dangerous to breathe," said Stanford Fire Department Chief Kenneth McDaniels.

But the fire chief says luckily none of that chlorine leaked outside the building, and once it was cleaned up inside the water plant, everyone evacuated was allowed to go back home by about four o'clock Sunday morning.

Fire officials say they were lucky, because if any of that chlorine had spilled outside the plant, they would have had to evacuate a five square mile area, including the entire city of Stanford.

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