Chemical Leak Leads to Evacuations in Norfolk

Aug. 13--NORFOLK -- Firefighters are on the scene of a leak in the 1000 block of Lansing St.

The substance leaking -- sodium hydroxide -- is leaking within a tank that holds about 900,000 gallons of the substance, said Norfolk Fire-Rscue Battalion Chief Julian Williamson. The chemical is not leaking outside the tank into the environment. No injuries have been reported.

"It does not pose a threat to the community," Williamson said.

As a precaution, one business near the scene has been evacuated and several agencies have been called to the site, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Coast Guard and the city's storm water experts.

The 500 block of Indian River Road also has been blocked in both directions by police.

Dispatchers were contacted by employees at the business, Kinder Morgan, about 5:50 a.m. About three employees were at the company when the leak was detected.

Employees at the company plan to transfer the chemical into another tank at the site, which could take several hours, Williamson said.

As a precaution, additional businesses near the site may be asked to evacuate.

Sodium hydroxide can irritate the skin and contact is the chief concern, Williamson said.

Indian River Road may be blocked during most or all of the transfer process.

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