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Chemical Release Prompts Evacuation of Smithfield Firm

Posted August 20, 2007

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— A company that makes fuel hoses and other components was evacuated Monday afternoon after a chemical was released inside the plant, authorities said.

A contractor was removing expired chemicals from OPW Fueling Containment Systems, at 3250 U.S. Highway 70 West, when some of the chemicals reacted, causing concern, said Mike Johnson, OPW director of operations. The chemicals belonged to Environ Products Inc., which OPW acquired, he said.

Johnston County Director of Emergency Management Services Dwayne West said a 30-gallon container of organic peroxide was in the process of being removed from the plant when smoke was seen coming out of the container. The container was behind the plant at the time, he said.

OPW officials asked all employees to leave the plant as a precaution and offered to pay them for the time missed because of the evacuation, Johnson said.

No injuries were reported.


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