A Kansas producer of food and beverage ingredients says it is cooperating with authorities after a chemical leak led to evacuations and hospitalizations near its facility in Atchison.
Local authorities told The Kansas City Star that a holding tank at the MGP Ingredients plant inadvertently mixed sodium hypocholorite and sulfuric acid, which produced a plume of what one expert said was likely a toxic chlorine gas.
MGP produces alcohol for use in distilled spirits as well as specialty wheat proteins and starches.
The cloud spread over the city beginning at about 8 a.m. and prompted complaints of a strong chlorine odor and respiratory issues. The plume dispersed as of 11 a.m., but KSHB-TV in Kansas City reported that 102 people received treatment. One person remained hospitalized in stable condition as of Sunday, according to KWCH-TV.
Authorities considered evacuating the entire city of about 11,000, but ultimately advised residents north of the plant to remain indoors with their doors and windows shut. Three local schools, a nearby college and the courthouse were evacuated.
"MGP Ingredients has reported the event to the EPA and Kansas and local authorities, and is cooperating fully to investigate and ensure that all appropriate response actions are taken," the company said in a statement. "MGP has also engaged outside experts to assist the investigation and response."