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Update: Tennova treats a total of 13 patients after Wacker explosion Thursday

Image: @Dchap22 on Twitter

WATCH LIVE: Officials at WACKER hold press conference discussing Thursday's explosion, chemical leak.

UPDATE:

Wacker issued a release on the incident on their website. Read it here.

Tennova hospital now says a total of 13 patients were treated at the hospital since the explosion.

Employees at Wacker returned Friday morning to work.

A total of 9 people have been injured, according to Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson at a news conference late Thursday night.

Bradley County Schools are closed for Friday. (All Cleveland City Schools are open).

Chris Cannon of TOSHA (Tennessee Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration) tells NewsChannel 9, "TOSHA will now combine the investigation into this afternoon's incident, with the investigation it started last week [with another explosion that left 5 people injured], so the final report will include both incidents." He says as of 6 p.m. Thursday Wacker had not reported the injuries. Wacker has 24 hours to do so, and we will keep you updated.

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office announced all roads were reopened just after 10 p.m. Thursday:

One woman described to Stephanie Santostasi how the explosion nearly knocked her off her porch. Watch that story here.

Here's the latest Friday morning from Katherine Marchand, live on the scene on Good Morning Chattanooga.

An explosion caused by a hydrogen chemical release at a Tennessee plant Thursday briefly shut down a busy section of the interstate and spurred orders for people nearby to take shelter, emergency officials said.

A late-afternoon alert from the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency urged people to stay out of the Charleston area in southeastern Tennessee as authorities respond to the event at the Wacker Polysilicon plant.

For about an hour, emergency officials told people to shelter in place and turn off their HVAC systems. Walker Valley High School was told to shelter in place, the agency said.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. Bill Miller says the interstate was closed in both directions on Thursday afternoon when emergency crews responded to the explosion.

In statements to media outlets, Wacker said there was a mechanical failure at the plant with a hydrogen chemical release. The company said the equipment was shut down, and all employees, contractors and firefighters are accounted for. There are no injuries, the company said.

Wacker said the plant is temporarily closed, and the company is continuously monitoring air quality and the tests show the air quality is not harmful.

Five workers at the plant last week suffered chemical burns from the release of silane, a highly flammable compressed gas.

Wacker in June began a $150 million expansion of the sprawling $2.5 billion plant.

Many NewsChannel 9 viewers are sharing photos and videos from the incident:


Share your photos and videos here, in the 'Breaking News" section.


UPDATE (10:30pm):

Bradley County EMA says all roads are now open, and sheltering in place is no longer necessary after an explosion at Wacker chemical plant Thursday.


Bradley County Schools are closed Friday, Sept. 8 as a precautionary measure. Cleveland City School will remain open.

Bradley County Sheriff's Office held a news conference to discuss details in the incidents at Wacker chemical plant Thursday:

We apologize for the interruption to the livestream at the end of the conference. James Torrez was also live on Facebook, and has the entire video here:


PREVIOUSLY (9:57pm):

Bradley County Schools (BCS) says schools will be closed Friday "in consideration for the safety of our families" after an explosion at Wacker chemical plant Thursday.

BCS says that the measures are precautionary.

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) also released another statement at 9:53pm ET:

"Incident Command has advised the environmental reading outside of the Wacker facility is 0.0 HCL. Additionally, it has been determined the visible vapor cloud that prompted an additional closure of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and residents to shelter in place a second time was only steam. It’s important for residents to know that advisories were only put into place as a matter of precaution when the change of events was discovered.
After speaking with representatives at Tennova Hospital, 8 people were treated for symptoms related to the Wacker incident. However, 7 out of the 8 patients were transported by private vehicle, and a Wacker firefighter was transported via ambulance."

The BCSO will hold a live news conference at 10:30pm. We will livestream the conference on our Facebook page and here as well.


PREVIOUSLY (9:21pm):

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office says it will hold a joint news conference at 10:30pm ET to discuss details into incidents at Wacker chemical plant Thursday.

NewsChannel 9 will stream the conference.

Bradley County Schools also issued a tweet saying that they are working with Bradley County EMS & the Sheriff's Office to determine the status of school Friday.

We reached out to Tennova Healthcare in Cleveland, TN about receiving patients with injuries related to the explosion.

Tennova Health says that eight patients have so far been admitted to the emergency room with minor irritations.

We also reached out to the Tennessee Occupational and Health Safety Administration (TOSHA) to ask if they had been contacted about the explosion.

TOSHA responded that they are aware of the incident, and will combine both this investigation with their investigation into last week's incident at the plant in which five people were injured.


PREVIOUSLY (8:51pm):

Bradley County Sheriff's Office James Bradford says a firefighter responding to the Wacker chemical plant has been taken to a nearby hospital due to "heat exhaustion." This is after a second leak at the plant Thursday evening.

Residents with 1.5 miles south of Wacker are asked to stay indoors and keep their AC units off until officials have given the all-clear.

Several roads remain closed as authorities respond to the scene.


PREVIOUSLY (7:45pm):

NewsChannel 9 has been in contact with Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, who says that a secondary leak has been detected at the Wacker chemical plant Thursday evening.

Bradley County EMA says that because of a wind shift near the plant, residents living up to 1.5 miles south of Wacker should stay inside until notified otherwise.

As a precaution, residents in the area should not use their AC units.

Crews have closed Lauderdale Memorial Hwy between Hwy 11 and I-75.

We have spoken by phone with Bill Toth, Director of Corporate Communications for Wacker.

We asked if there is a danger to the public. He could not answer.

Toth says they are busy "mitigating the incident," and will release a statement later.


PREVIOUSLY:

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) released a statement about an explosion at the Wacker chemical plant in Charleston, Tennessee Thursday afternoon around 4 p.m.

First responders say they were able to determine that a mechanical failure created a cloud of low-concentrated hydrochloric acid to form.

The BCSO says one person in the Wacker facility needed medical assistance following the explosion, but that EMS have not yet been able to determine whether the person's injuries were related to the explosion or not.

Read the full statement by the Bradley County Sheriff's Office below:

Wacker officials also released another statement about the incident Thursday afternoon, saying that the hydrogen chemical release did not result in harmful air quality.

"WACKER’s immediate emergency response to contain the release resulted in a visible steam cloud. WACKER is continuously monitoring air quality and measurements confirm air quality is not harmful."

Wacker officials say all employees are accounted for.

You can read the full statement below:

Cleveland State says that due to the situation, all CSCC classes & activities at all locations are cancelled for the remainder of Thursday.



PREVIOUSLY:

Bradley County EMA say the shelter in place alert has been lifted after an incident at the Wacker chemical plant in Charleston, Tennessee Thursday afternoon.

Wacker officials have released a statement:

"There has been a mechanical failure at the plant and there was a chemical release. All employees, contractors and firefighters are accounted for. There are no injuries. We are sheltering in place as a precaution. The equipment has been shut down to address the issue"

Wacker officials are expected to make another statement once the investigation has concluded.


Sheriff Eric Watson says at this time, they have not confirmed any injuries.



PREVIOUSLY:

Bradley Co. Schools asks that parents of children on buses 1, 3, 22, & 43 pick up their children at Ocoee Middle after Wacker emergency.

Emergency agencies are asking that people in the area shelter in place and turn off their AC units.


PREVIOUSLY:

The Bradley County Emergency Management Agency is advising people to stay out of the Charleston, Tennessee area after an emergency situation at the Wacker chemical plant.

Several viewers in the area have called our station saying that an explosion shook the area near them.

Bradley County schools near the Wacker chemical plant in Charleston, Tennessee have been sheltered in place after an emergency at the plant.

School officials are keeping AC units off in order to avoid contact with the smoke in the air.

This is the second time in just over a week that the Wacker plant has experienced an incident. The plant experienced another incident on Wednesday, August 30th in which five employees were injured.

We have a crew on the way to the scene.



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