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Organic Consumers Association

Questions Remain in Institute Plant Explosion

CHARLESTON - Kanawha County and city officials will meet with first responders and Bayer CropScience officials Sept. 11 to critique the company and county reaction after an Aug. 28 explosion at the company's Institute plant.

The county plans to find a local expert for advice on chemicals stored at local companies and who can advise the county on emergency response. County officials said they would assign a committee to see how improvements could be made to the response and talk to those who were on scene. They also will contemplate having public forums, said Jennifer Sayre, deputy county manager.

The Aug. 28 explosion occurred in a waste area of the plant and involved chemicals used to make pesticide.

The explosion, which was reported around 10:25 p.m. and shook windows throughout Kanawha County, killed one person and injured two others.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper has called for a critique of the response to see whether anything can be changed to make the response quicker.

Maya Nye, a concerned citizen, said the hour it took to activate the shelter-in-place notice was too long.

"I would think, not knowing what the chemical is, it would be better safe than sorry," said Nye, who grew up about a mile from where the explosion took place and now lives in Charleston.

Dale Petry, director of Emergency Services, said issuing a shelter-in-place warning too soon may cause greater problems than not issuing one quickly enough.

"If it's a chemical that involves evacuation, and I tell you to shelter in place, and 15 minutes later I tell you to evacuate, it might lead to confusion, so we want to make sure what we do is right when we initiate it," Petry said.

The quicker the company tells the county the chemical involved, the quicker the response, Sayre said.

Full Story: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1578702/questions
_remain_in_institute_plant_explosion/

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