MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — UPDATE: A half mile radius in downtown Martinsburg was evacuated early morning after a chemical leak at the sewage treatment plant at 500 East John Street. Governor Jim Justice ordered West Virginia’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to partial activation in response to the chemical leak.
Residents and businesses were evacuated around 6 a.m. Monday from Race Street to South Street and from Raleigh to West Street.
As of 4 p.m., the area remains closed off and the Berkeley County’s emergency operations center will remain fully activated overnight, according to the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. A Hazardous Materials Response Team from Washington, Pa., is also providing assistance.
According to Chad Shifflett, Berkeley County Public Information Officer, sodium hydrochloride and ferric chloride mixed during an off-load from a truck, creating a gaseous cloud.
Shifflett says officials are waiting for the cloud to disperse and that it is his understanding that it could take up to 24 hours.
Two people have been treated and released from the Berkeley Medical Center, according to Teresa McCabe, Vice President of Marketing and Development at WVU Medicine.
Due to the chemical spill, the Martinsburg Post Office may not make any deliveries in the evacuated areas, or where road closures affect their drivers.
McCabe says both patients were taken to the hospital from the scene of the spill.
Individuals who have been evacuated are at Orchard View Elementary.
Berkeley County EMS is on scene evaluating the situation.
Washington County, Maryland has sent eight units to Martinsburg to assist. Multipe agencies are assisting in the governor-ordered SEOC including the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, WV Intelligence/Fusion Center, WV Center for Threat Preparedness, WV National Guard, WV Division of Highways, Red Cross in WV, and WV State Police.
This story is developing and will be updated as soon as more details become available.