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Atchison, Kansas Chemical Spill: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A major chemical spill in Atchison, Kansas resulted in officials warning people to stay indoors and avoid the town.

CNN said the spill, which occurred on the morning of October 21, sent a “plume of fog” into the air.

At about 9:15 central time, Atchison County Emergency Management wrote on Facebook: “There has been a chemical spill at MGP Ingredients between 10th and 14th Streets south of Main Street. The plume is moving north of this area. Please avoid this area. Atchison residents: please shelter in place. If you are not in Atchison, please stay out of town. More details to come.”

The town said a few hours later that the plume had dissolved, and it was safe to go outside.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. At Least 18 People Were Treated as a Result of the Spill

City manager Trey Cocking told KMBC that the 18 people were treated for “respiratory discomfort.”

The television station said the problems were “minor.”

KSHB said five of those being treated were city workers. You can watch the city’s press conference above.


2. One of the Chemicals Might Have Been Airborne Chlorine Powder

The key question a lot of people wonder: What was the chemical and how dangerous is it? After all, residents reported seeing a plume over the town, although it was starting to dissipate.

At least one of the chemicals was airborne chlorine powder, KSHB said, citing multiple reports.

However, KMBC says authorities have not yet released the information about the nature of the chemicals. In the press conference, city officials said that question was still being studied.


3. The Spill Happened When Two Chemicals Were Mixed Together, Reports Say

According to KSHB, “two chemicals were inadvertently mixed together in the wrong holding tank, which caused a reaction.”

The company where the spill occurred is a grain company, the television station said. Emergency management officials said the company has been in the area since the 1940s.


4. Nearby Schools Were Evacuated but Officials Now Say the Threat Has Passed

Atchison emergency officials said that some school students were evacuated, but they felt the threat had passed by late morning.

“It is now safe to go outside!” Atkinson local government announced on Facebook.

They were working with the company and toxicology officials to determine whether the air was safe.


5. The Plume Covered Large Areas of the City

The plume covered good portions of the city throughout the morning. Downtown was affected early in the morning, and then the plume shifted and began to dissipate, said emergency management officials.

It’s now safe to go outside, officials say.

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