Baltimore Acid Spill Prompts Officials to Issue Shelter in Place Call

BALTIMORE (CN)— Residents within three zip codes on the southern edge of Baltimore received an emergency message on their phones Monday telling them to remain sheltered in place following the release of a chlorosulfonic acid cloud from a Solvay Industries plant.

The initial message was directed towards residences in the South Baltimore neighborhoods of Curtis Bay and Brooklyn, as well as across the Anne Arundel County line in Glen Burnie.

The shelter-in-place message was later amended to a one-mile radius from 3400 Fairfield Road, as the leak had been stopped and the cloud had dissipated.

Baltimore’s office of emergency management said on Twitter that the “situation in Curtis Bay has been resolved. Shelter in place is lifted,” around 1:40 p.m.

In a telephone interview Chief Roman Clark said that Baltimore Fire Department Hazmat team responded to the Level 3 incident, and were able to quickly seal off the leak.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Level 3 incidents “generally pose extreme, immediate, and/or long-term risk to the environment and public health.”

In a statement, Solvay Industries said “an undetermined amount of a chemical ingredient escaped from a tank truck during unloading.”

“The tank truck was delivering chlorosulfonic acid, a raw material used for producing soaps and detergents. The liquid material is considered hazardous for inhalation and produces a white cloud when it comes into contact with air, which was visible at the site on Fairfield Road in the Curtis Bay industrial area among Baltimore’s port facilities,” a spokesman for the Belgian company said.

There were no injuries reported at the plant, and all 60 people that work at the plant were accounted for, according to the Solvay statement.

The company says the Baltimore site “produces surfactants used in soaps and detergents and other consumer products.”

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