Toxic Fire in Apex NC

Apex is located approximately 15 miles SE of Raleigh.. Click here for map of the area 

From WRAL.com 

APEX, N.C. — Shifting winds forced Apex officials to expand an evacuation area early Friday to protect residents from a chemical gas plume that continued to spread from an industrial fire that has raged since late Thursday.

Town Manager Bruce Radford said a leak at the EQ North Carolina plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air around 9 p.m. Thursday. A large fire broke out at the plant afterward, sending flames more than 100 feet into the night sky and setting off multiple explosions.

EQ is a licensed hazardous-waste facility that serves businesses.

Apex and Wake County officials declared a state of emergency early Friday and evacuated about 16,000 people — half of of Apex — within hours.

At 6 a.m., Radford said the chemical plume produced by the plant fire had been spotted near the Eva Perry Library, near the intersection of U.S. 64 and Lake Pine Road. Hundreds of homes in the Sterling Buckingham subdivision were to be evacuated and the residents sent to a shelter at Green Hope High School, he said.

Updated Oct 7th

From the National Ledger

Apex, N.C. – A chemical fire that broke out at the at EQ Industrial Services in Apex, N.C. has been extinguished.   Firefighters mostly let the fire burn until it ran out of fuel.

Most residents who left their homes to escape the fumes from a fire at a hazardous materials plant began returning Saturday, two nights after officials urged 17,000 people to evacuate.

“We’ve been given every assurance that it’s safe for our citizens to go back home,” Mayor Keith Weatherly said.

***

According to the Associated Press, worried officials had basically closed downtown Apex, including cancelling school on Friday and urged more than 17,000 people to leave their homes, but it wasn’t known how many complied.

“With the hazardous materials, you really don’t want to take a risk, especially with small children,” said Shane McDonnell, who was back home after spending two nights with his wife and four kids — ages 13, 12, 8, and 3 — at an Embassy Suites in nearby Cary. “You don’t want anything getting into their respiratory system at an early age.”

***

A team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board was also expected to arrive on Saturday and the company will be responsible for the cleanup.

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