All clear given after Akron chemical plant explosion

AKRON, Ohio-- The all clear was given just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday following a chemical plant explosion in Akron.  Those people who had to leave their homes or businesses were told they can return, the City of Akron said.

The city wrote on Facebook, "The Akron Fire Department has determined there is no ongoing risk of chemical exposure in the area and the scene is fully secure. However, AFD will remain on scene to address any final hotspots from the fire."

Firefighters struggled to battle the blaze at Emerald Performance Materials following the explosion, which happened at about 1 p.m. at the plant, located at 240 West Emerling Ave.

All employees were located and there were no significant injuries, according to city officials. Three people were taken to Akron General Medical Center for coughing symptoms, Akron police said.

The Akron Fire Department hazmat team entered Emerald Performance Materials more than two hours after the explosion since it was such a volatile situation.

Firefighters were unable to put out the fire because they didn't have enough water. They used up their 500-gallon tank and sent for another one.

Exposure to the chemical involved in the explosion, butadiene, can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, nose and lungs. According to the city, there is no indication of any mass release or plume of butadiene that could impact the general public.

The area within a half-mile radius was evacuated.

(Photo courtesy: Akron Mayor's Office)

Evacuees were taken to the University of Akron Student Union on Carroll Street.  Once again, the city said all evacuees can return.

The company released the following statement:

"We immediately activated our response protocols, evacuated the plant, notified the fire department, and notified regulatory bodies.  First responders are on the scene investigating.  All of our employees have been accounted for and there have been no reported injuries to our personnel.  Our site leaders are working with first responders to assess the situation."

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