One Dead, Three Injured in West Virginia Chemical Plant Explosion

View of fires at a Chemours chemical plant following an explosion in Belle, West Virginia December 8, 2020. — Timisha Leah Shears/ social media image via Reuters

One person died and three others were injured in an explosion and a fire that occurred in a chemical plant in Belle, West Virginia, on Tuesday night, officials said.

The incident happened after 10 p.m. EST (0300 GMT on Wednesday) at Optima Chemicals Co, a tenant on the Chemours Co site in Belle, Chemours said in a statement.

Following the incident, local county officials in Belle ordered everyone in a 2-mile (3.2 km) radius around the plant to remain at home, but the order was lifted a few hours later.

“Emergency responders have evaluated the scene and have determined that an all clear can be issued,” the Kanawha County Commission said in a statement earlier in the day.

The shelter-in-place order affected about 2,000 people, Jennifer Herrald, manager at the Kanawha County Commission, told Reuters.

Officials believed chlorinated dry bleach and methanol were the chemicals involved in the explosion, Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper told WCHS & WVAH television station.

“The cause of the explosion is not determined by Kanawha County. Other agencies will determine that and it is up to those agencies and the company to release that information,” Karper’s office told Reuters.

Belle is about 12 miles (18 km) south of West Virginia state capital Charleston.

SOURCE: Reuters