Residents of the town of Atchison, Kansas found themselves scrambling for shelter when a massive plume of potentially toxic chemicals spilled into the air starting shortly after 8:00 A.M. local time on October 21st. Residents claimed the thick smoke smelled like chlorine or bleach, signaling a potential chemical hazard. At the time of this writing, nobody has been seriously injured, but 18 people were treated for respiratory problems.
"This was a large plume that enveloped a large area. We’re very fortunate this time that there were not more injuries," said Atchison Fire Chief Ted Graf.
For more than two hours, residents were asked to remain inside with their doors and windows closed. Traffic in the town was completely shut down to allow emergency crews the ability to try to stop the spill and seal the leak.
The spill was caused by a chemical silo at the headquarters for MGP Ingredients, located in Atchison. The company claims the spill was caused when two chemicals were inadvertently mixed, causing a reaction with serious consequences. While MGP insists this was an accident, federal investigators are still on their way to the area to get to the root cause.
The leak prompted authorities to release a statement on Facebook, warning people who were not currently in town to remain out while the chaos ensued. Benedictine College was evacuated and students and faculty sought shelter and air that was not near or down-wind from the chemical spill.
The Atchison Hospital urged residents via Facebook to visit the emergency room if they are experiencing any difficulty breathing or shortness of breath after possibly being exposed to the chemicals.
Toxic Spills and Liability
Depending on the results of the investigation around this spill, MGP will likely be held liable for the damages caused to both the city and to residents. Sadly, spills like this are a liability almost anywhere chemical manufacturing takes place, meaning many people all across the country are constantly at risk.
If you are injured as a result of a chemical spill, such as the one in Atchison, it is important that you seek immediate medical treatment and then contact a skilled personal injury attorney. At Sico, Hoelscher, Harris & Braugh, LLP, our team takes pride in putting the law to work for those who have been impacted by accidents such as this, and we work diligently to seek the maximum possible compensation. When you’re dealing with the health effects of one of these accidents, trust our firm to get you the financial relief you need and help relieve some of the stress and anguish your injury may cause.Do you think you have a case after being exposed to toxic chemicals? Call Sico, Hoelscher, Harris & Braugh, LLP for a free case evaluation today—dial (877) 631-9965.