CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Clearon Corp. is conducting an investigation into the chemical leak that forced a shelter-in-place warning for parts of the Kanawha Valley Wednesday morning, the plant's manager said.
"We're doing a complete investigation of this incident," said plant manager Scott Johnson.
An unknown amount of chlorine gas escaped from Clearon's South Charleston facility about 8:25 a.m. Wednesday.
After the plant alerted county officials, a shelter-in-place warning was issued about 9:30 a.m. for west of the South Charleston Mound, as well as Spring Hill and Dunbar.
The shelter-in-place was lifted about 10:15 a.m.
Kanawha County Deputy Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman said the decision to issue the warning came after county officials noticed a "little bit of a cloud" near Exit 54 (MacCorkle Avenue) off Interstate 64 and area residents began reporting a chlorine smell.
"It could be just a handful, it could be a lot more," he said.
The leak came as the plant was in a routine shutdown for maintenance, which is "normal for this time of year," Sigman said.
Johnson said one plant worker was taken to a local hospital for observation after becoming "overheated" and "nervous." The worker has since been released.
"The stress got to him," he said.
Clearon Corp. manufactures chlorine tablets for pools and hot tubs at its South Charleston facility. The plant employs 118 people, and has operated in South Charleston for about 30 years, a company press release stated.
County Commission President Kent Carper said earlier Wednesday the leak coincided with a small fire inside the plant.
The county's Emergency Operations Center was activated in response to the situation, and county officials offered support to the South Charleston Fire Department in responding to the situation. Carper said all county and local emergency response units were following their regular chemical response protocols to help manage the situation.