Massive, Dangerous Chemical Fire in Apex, NC

Trackback Friday Featuring the Surrender Monkey has been put off till later. Bigger local news.

From WRAL Raleigh:

Shifting winds forced Apex officials to expand an evacuation area early Friday to protect residents from a chemical gas plume that continued to spread from an industrial fire that has raged since late Thursday.

Town Manager Bruce Radford said a leak at the EQ North Carolina plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air around 9 p.m. Thursday. A large fire broke out at the plant afterward, sending flames more than 100 feet into the night sky and setting off multiple explosions.

EQ is a licensed hazardous-waste facility that serves businesses

Apex and Wake County officials declared a state of emergency early Friday and evacuated about 16,000 people — half of of Apex.

By 3 a.m. Friday, the evacuation area stretched from N.C. Highway 55 to Hunter Road, Hunter Road to Old Raleigh Road, and U.S. Highway 64 to Highway 55.

This is an area that is heavily travelled into Raleigh, Cary, Research Triangle Park, etc. Listening to the radio as I was awoken by the alarm, it is very bad. The fire is so hot, and the chemicals so dangerous, that it cannot be approached. And, they cannot even see what is going on in full till the Sun comes up.

Schools in the area will be closed, as will downtown Apex. The police said anyone caught in the area with a damn good reason would be arrested.

The smoke can be seen many miles away, and it doesn't get better. The weather forcast for today calls for rain (which is helpful), but windy, with gusts to 20mph. Planes flying into Raleigh-Durham Airport have even be rerouted.

All in all a dangerous situation.

Evening update: They are saying that it probably won't be till about 6am Saturday morning before the fire is put out, or, should I say, goes out. Firefighters are concerned that water or chemical retardants could make the fire worse, since they are not quite sure what chemicals are involved.

People are still not allowed to return to their homes, approx 17,000 all told.

And, without facts even being in, with a still smoldering fire, an Apex couple has already filed a lawsuit.

The suit questions what EQ knew before the explosion or should have known about the potential for a toxic explosion and fire at the plant and the potential for contamination of the community, air and groundwater.

The complaint asks the court for a jury trial and to award damages for the temporary or permanent loss of value to the plaintiffs’ properties, loss of the plaintiffs’ right to fully use and enjoy their properties and other compensatory damages that may come to light. The suit also asks the court to create a court-supervised fund to pay for environmental and/or medical testing.

Hey, I'm all for holding people and entities liable, but, sometimes, shit happens. This looks more like vultures looking for a free meal. The only question is, will they bring in John Edwards to channel the chemicals?

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3 Responses to “Massive, Dangerous Chemical Fire in Apex, NC”

  1. Ogre says:

    Blame Bush.

  2. Russ says:

    I caught the news on the drive home last night at about 12:30 – WPTF then switched back to postgame coverage. Not a brilliant programming decision, I’m thinking. But we in west Apex weren’t affected.

  3. William Teach says:

    That’s a good deal. I heard that the wind had blown some of the smoke as far away as the library off of 64, down near that food lion. Olsen actually called me from Vermont to ask what was going on.

    Nasty stuff, chlorine gas.

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