APEX, N.C. — (Oct. 5) More than 17,000 Apex residents were urged to leave their homes in the middle of the night after a chemical fire at a hazardous-waste handling facility in early October.
Town officials worried that unknown fumes released from the fire at the Environmental Quality Industrial Services plant could pose public safety problems. They activated the evacuation shortly after midnight on Oct. 6.
Chemical analyses and environmental tests detected no toxins at levels sufficient to cause long-term health problems, and residents were allowed to return home after two days.
That evacuation disrupted the lives of thousands, and schools and businesses in the area were closed.
Officials have said they might never know what exactly caused several explosions that started the fire, but in November, they narrowed their investigation to determine if flammable materials were improperly stored.
In the aftermath of fire, some residents have filed lawsuits against EQ asking for punitive damages and an order directing the company to pay for environmental and medical testing.
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