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  1. #1
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    State investigating chlorine leak at Carhartt


    By KIM HAMILTON - News Editor Morehead News
    Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:42 PM EDT



    Carhartt Manufacturing and the City's Fire Department are currently being investigated by state officials.

    "OSHA and the EPA have begun an investigation of a chemical release and the emergency response to the release," said Steve Sparrow, state OSHA compliance officer.

    OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the EPA is the Environmental Protection Administration.

    "Apparently there was a release of chlorine gas from Carhartt on or about April 6," said Danny Blevins, chairman of the Morehead- Rowan County Emergency Planning Committee.

    Chlorine gas can be deadly at even low levels of concentration because it can turn into hydrochloric acid when it comes into contact with moisture, such as sweat on a firefighter. Hydrochloric acid severely burns the skin.

    "According to statements from Carhartt's officials at the scene, there was a reportable release of chlorine at that facility," Blevins said. "However, this release has not been officially reported through the proper procedures by the facility or any of the people who responded to the release that day."


    In the city- county hazardous materials law, there is a reporting requirement concerning the release of chlorine, such as a call to 911 dispatch.

    City police said a call came in from the fire department regarding a chemical leak at 3:39 p.m.

    On the police log, it was reported that Tanker One of the Morehead Fire Department was sent to Carhartt at 3:40 p.m., and it arrived at 3:44 p.m. The tanker was reported to be finished at 4:18 p.m., police said.

    There are requirements that firefighters use special hazardous materials suits over their firefighting suits. The special suits don't allow moisture in and have specialized breathing equipment.

    Rowan County has a hazardous materials unit at the Farmers Fire Department, but that unit was apparently not called to the incident.

    "There are penalties involved for failure to notify local government officials," Blevins said. "We're waiting to see what the EPA says.

    "Failure to report this incident by the facility and the responders is a really big issue for the local planning committee."

    Part of the responsibilities of emergency planning is to identify facilities that possibly pose a risk due to the type and quantity of hazardous materials they may have on site, Blevins said.

    "Carhartt is one of those facilities identified because of the amount of chlorine on site," Blevins said.

    The committee was established through federal law, following the Kentucky Emergency Response Policies.

    OSHA is investigating the fire department's response and reporting and the EPA is investigating the actual chlorine release, Blevins said.

    OSHA standards require:

    € Development of an emergency response plan and implementation of specific procedures, including an incident command system

    € Ensuring that department members are competent to the duties and functions they would be expected to perform

    € Implementation of a medical surveillance and consultation program for the hazardous materials team and hazardous materials specialists

    € Ensuring that chemical protective clothing and equipment meet minimum requirements and be properly used and maintained

    € Removing and disposing hazardous materials after the emergency response is completed

    € The standards apply to all firefighters, paid or volunteer.

    Carhartt, a textile manufacturer on U.S. 60 west, closed its Morehead operations at the end of March before the chlorine incident occurred

    A sign on the door at Carhartt reads: "This place is closed."
    Last edited by coldfront; 04-23-2006 at 06:00 PM.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!


  2. #2
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    Post Chief Resigns

    News

    Morehead fire chief resigns


    By KIM HAMILTON - News Editor
    Thursday, April 27, 2006 5:21 PM EDT



    Morehead Fire Chief Dale Adkins resigned his position Friday, April 21.

    His resignation was tendered following the opening of an OSHA investigation into the city fire department's response to a chlorine gas leak at Carhartt Manufacturing.

    "After discussing the situation at length with Chief Adkins, we came to a mutual agreement that it would be in the best interest of all parties involved for him to submit his resignation," said Morehead Mayor Brad Collins.

    "I feel there is liability on Carhartt's part too, though," Collins said. "They were supposed to have that chlorine out on March 31. Also, instead of calling 911, they called the local administrative fire department phone number.

    "That's a breach," Collins added. "Then, the errors were compounded."

    "OSHA and the EPA have begun an investigation of a chemical release and the emergency response to the release," said Steve Sparrow, state OSHA compliance officer.

    OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is investigating the fire department and the EPA is the Environmental Protection Administration, which is investigating the actual chlorine leak.

    There was an apparent release or leak of chlorine gas at Carhartt on April 6.

    Chlorine gas can be deadly at very low levels of concentration because it can turn into hydrochloric acid when it comes into contact with moisture.

    Such moisture in this case could be the sweat on a responding firefighter who is not wearing hazardous materials gear. Hydrochloric acid can severely burn the skin and lungs.

    The two volunteer firefighters who were directed to respond have reported no serious injury at this time.

    Carhartt or the fire department, according to Danny Blevins, chair of the local emergency planning committee, did not properly report the chlorine leak.

    In the city- county hazardous materials law, there is a reporting requirement for hazardous chemicals - a call to 911 dispatch.

    There are also requirements that firefighters use special hazardous materials suits over their firefighting suits. The special suits don't allow moisture in and have specialized breathing equipment.

    Rowan County has a hazardous materials unit at the Farmers Fire Department, but that unit was apparently not called to the incident.

    State law allows the mayor to recommend Adkins's replacement and city council must approve the recommendation, Collins said.

    "We don't have to do a search, but we're going to," he added. "There will be a committee of five who will do a search, go through information and make recommendations for a new chief," Collins said.

    The committee will be comprised of Collins, two council members, acting city fire chief John Northcutt and another firefighter, Collins said.

    "I would love to have acting chief Northcutt as our new fire chief, but as county coroner, he can't do that," Collins said. "He is one of our most capable leaders, if not the most."

    The position of city fire chief is a department manager. As of July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year and about the time the city expects to have a new chief in position, the chief's salary will be $38,177.

    Carhartt, Inc. announced last Nov. 17 that the company would cease operations at its Morehead Sewing Plant, effective March 31, 2006.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

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