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Chlorine Release

NEW MARTINSVILLE — An odorous cloud of chlorine gas blanketed the area surrounding Axiall Corp.’s chemical plant near Proctor after a railcar began leaking inside the facility Saturday morning.

The incident forced many residents in both Marshall and Wetzel counties to evacuate their homes for several hours, while two workers at the site were hospitalized and released.

The leak was first reported around 8:45 a.m., when Marshall County 911 said a chemical cloud from the plant was heading south. Traffic was disrupted on both sides of the river as portions of both W.Va. 2 and Ohio 7 were shut down throughout much of the morning and afternoon.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection cleared officials to reopen the roads and allow residents back into their homes by about 4:30 p.m., almost eight hours after the leak began.

Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart said weather conditions caused the cloud to linger longer than it normally would have.