Local News

Chlorine Spill Forces Evacuation of Polling Place

Posted November 6, 2000

— Four deputies and one woman were transported to the hospital after a chemical spill in Cumberland County Tuesday evening.

Several streets were blocked to traffic after a chlorine spill, preventing some people from voting at their designated location.

The incident occurred at 5 p.m. at Woody's Welding Shop on Clinton Road where a 150-pound chlorine cylinder ruptured during a clean-up operation.

Cumberland County Emergency Management personnel along with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, county fire marshal, a HazMat team, EMS and theState Highway Patrolwere contacted immediately.

Anthony Zavila works at a service station near the chlorine spill. He was one of the first people to call 911.

"We smelled the chemical, and it was pretty bad. We couldn't breathe," he says.

Residents in a 1-mile radius were evacuated from their homes. Some of the evacuees were sent to Mac Williams Middle School. Residents outside of the 1-mile radius were instructed to stay indoors and make sure all doors and windows were secured.

Authorities were also forced to evacuate the Judson-Vander Fire Department, a polling location. Voters were turned away when they entered the area.

"I tried about two or three different directions and got turned around every which way," says voter Nicke Bullard.

Voters registered in the precinct were asked to go to the Board of Elections office at 301 East Russell Street in Fayetteville. Voting hours were extended to 8:30 p.m.

Authorities are asking anyone who was in the vicinity who may be experiencing symptoms such as sore throat, burning eyes and/or upper respiratory discomfort to seek medical attention immediately.

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