MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM)– Over 100 downtown Martinsburg residents were woken up on Monday by officers knocking on their doors telling them to evacuate.
According to Berkeley County Officials, sodium hyphochlorate and ferric chloride were mixed during an off-load from a truck, creating a gaseous cloud from the Wastewater Treatment plant. However, a thick layer of stress and tension was also in the air from residents who were moved four separate times to different locations.
“Things should be planned out,” said Martinsburg resident Shantasha Sterward. “I don’t know if this is something that the state has in a statewide emergencies but every company, especially a water company should have precautions. There should be things in place so this doesn’t happen.”
Residents filled the Red Cross shelter at Orchard View Intermediate. Many families camped out with their pets until they received any word of what was going on.
“Well listening to the radio and hearing what happened, it’s more of a precaution than an immediate threat so it’s not really major to worry about but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Martinsburg resident Ivan Rumery.
On the other hand, some residents started their own church service to feel at ease.
“I grabbed my bag and got the Word so I thank God for the Word and the Word is what’s going to keep us and this is what we need right now.” said Martinsburg resident Annette Robinson. “He thought the world was coming to an end and I said see that’s why you need to read cause you know.”
Homeowners are expected to be able to return to their homes within 24 to 48 hours.
The United States Postal Service sent out a press release for residents affected by the chemical spill. They say that delivery of packages may be affected and even stopped temporarily. The post office will be making deliveries outside the evacuation area.