WAXAHACHIE (CBSFDW.COM) – A chlorine spill has forced evacuations for 70 employees at a Magnablend facility in Waxahachie. The facility is a custom chemical blending, manufacturing and packaging company.
Shortly before 2 pm, a reaction inside a 300 gallon tote carrying sodium chloride possibly vented chlorine gas then broke apart. It’s unclear what caused the reaction inside the portable container.
The facility “had some sort of reaction and created a smoke cloud and so all the employees at the facility were evacuated and then precautions were taken of the surrounding area,” said Amy Hollywood, City of Waxahachie Communications Director.
Vice President of Operations for Magnablend, Brian Banner said no one was injured.
Employees, nearby homes and businesses within a half a mile north of the Magnablend chemical plant were evacuated as a precaution. The northbound I-35E access road and northbound Sterrett Road exit were closed until an all-clear was given.
Crews from the Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality arrived on scene to monitor the facility.
Magnablend has also called in a hazmat company clean-up and assess the situation.
The same chemical plant experienced a massive fire in October 2011. A report later found that Magnablend made several major missteps as the fire raged out of control.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality cited Magnablend with four alleged violations.
After the fire in 2011, investigators said Magnablend should have known that the blending of chemicals would likely produce a “flammable gas cloud when mixed.”
They concluded “the incident could have been avoided with better maintenance or engineering practices.”
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