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Chemical Leak Shuts W.Va. Interstate; Residents Told To Stay Inside

December 5, 1995

NITRO, W.Va. (AP) _ A toxic cloud leaked from a chemical plant today, forcing authorities to close Interstate 64 and warn residents in four communities to stay indoors.

Phosphorous trichloride leaked from an FMC Corp. plant about 2 p.m., forming a vapor cloud over the Kanawha River, said Human Resources Manager Nick Nuzzo.

When mixed with water, the chemical can cause breathing and skin problems.

``It’s very foggy,″ said Kelly Hammick, who could see the vapor cloud from her office window across the Kanawha River from the plant.

``Everybody’s a little nervous,″ she said.

No injuries were reported. Residents were told to stay indoors as a precaution.

``We’ve got a `shelter-in-place’ in Cross Lanes, St. Albans, Poca and Nitro,″ said Shawn Warner of the Kanawha County emergency services office.

Television stations broke into regular programming to warn residents of the leak.

About a half-dozen chemical plants line the Kanawha River, and the area, west of Charleston in the west-central part of the state, is sometimes called ``chemical valley.″

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