Failed gasket may have caused fire at Mason County chemical plant

GALLIPOLIS FERRY, W.Va. — Officials at the ICL-IP America plant in Mason County say a leak occurred in the phosphorous unloading station at around noon Wednesday sparking a fire.

The blaze at the Gallipolis Ferry facility was put out by a sprinkler system plant personnel. There were no injuries, officials said.

A shelter-in-place covering a two-mile radius was was issued for about 45 minutes before being lifted at just after 1 p.m.

A statement from the company it would “investigate the cause and develop preventative actions.” ICL-IP added phosphorous fires create a great deal of smoke.

The company reported additional information to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Air Quality Wednesday afternoon. It said the leak occurred from a trailer-mounted iso-tank. The material was white phosphorous. The company suspects a failed gasket. The DEP has submitted additional questions about the size of the tank and the amount of phosphorous released.

Two DEP inspectors, one from the Division of Air Quality and one from the Division of Water and Waste Management’s Environmental Enforcement group, are scheduled to be at the plant site Thursday.

The ICL-IP America website produces drilling fluids and flame retardants that are bromine-based.

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