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Chemical leak in Lubbock leads to emergency evacuation

By Joseph Perez, Producer, jperez@ktxs.com
Published On: May 09 2013 07:54:47 AM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2013 12:46:12 PM CDT
Chemical leak
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Residents near north Lubbock was evacuated Wednesday night and into Thursday morning after a chemical leak at a Bayer CropScience facility.

At least 100 families live in the neighborhood affected by the leak. A reverse 911 call was placed to resident living in the nearby area as Lubbock police went door to door, conducting the evacuation. Authorities said they drove up and down the streets with lights and sirens to try and wake anyone who might remain.

Bayer CropScience Vice President Monty Christian told a local reporter that around 8 p.m Wednesday night, their system detected a leak of hydrochloric acid which triggered an alarm.

Employees used monitoring equipment to determine that a leak was occurring from a valve cylinder that was located outside the building.

Police and fire crews responded shortly after to assets the danger taking appropriate precautions as they evacuated the area.

Bayer CropScience deals with processing cotton seed. The company uses hydrochloric acid to  “de-lent and de-fuzz the cotton” Christian said. The chemical hydrogen chloride, when mixed in the air, creates hydrochloric acid. Christian said that the chemical is not explosive, but that it is corrosive to the skin.

Weather changes over night caused fire and police to expand the evacuation perimeter.

No injuries have been reported.

Local hazmat crews have been on scene since 3 a.m. Christian said that the leaking cylinder actually came to them from anther company, and it’s that company who is sending in a specialized hazmat team from Dallas. Right now there is not an estimated times that clean up will conclude.

KTXS will continue to monitor this story and bring you the latest updates as they become available.