For Immediate Release

November 7, 2000

--Press Release from Sheriff Butler--

Chemical Release in Vander

Cumberland County, NC; Local officials responded to a caustic chemical release in Vander late Tuesday afternoon. At approximately 5 PM, the Vander Fire Department responded to the scene of Woody's Welding Shop on Clinton Road, where a 150 pound chlorine cylinder was ruptured during a clean up operation. Cumberland County Emergency Management personnel along with the Sheriff's Office, County Fire Marshal, a HazMat team, EMS and the State Highway Patrol were contacted immediately.

Residents in a 1 mile radius of the release were evacuated from their homes. Some of the evacuees were sent to Mac Williams Middle School where they stayed until they were allowed to return home. Authorities blocked off several roads into the area to prevent anyone from traveling near the contamination site.

All residents in the area outside the 1 mile radius were instructed to stay in doors and to make sure all doors and windows were secured. They were also asked to turn off all air conditioning and heating units to avoid inhaling any toxic fumes.

Authorities ask anyone who was in the vicinity of the release that may be experiencing symptoms of exposure to include sore throat, burning eyes and or upper respiratory discomfort is urged to seek medical attention immediately.

At this time the release site is contained. Sheriff's deputies will be on scene to provide security through Wednesday to ensure that no one accidentally encounters contamination. Investigators will be on the scene Wednesday morning to continue the probe.

Any information about this incident will be released through the Cumberland County Public Information Office. Contact Tonya Harris-Council at (910) 437-1921.

*Note: This news release is being sent from a remote site.

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