3:08 PM EDT, July 2, 2012
It's not the kind of start the new operator at the Radford Army Ammunition plant was hoping for.
An acid leak sent one person to the hospital early Monday morning.
Some time after 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, there was some sort of acid spill inside the arsenal which sits on just shy of 7,000 acres.
The arsenal has its own fire department and its own medical facility on site. An alarm went off because one of the acid tanks was building too much heat. Workers tried to cool it off- but weren't able to.
Arsenal firefighters were called. They poured tons of water on tanks that were holding nitric acid, but a different tank wasn't cooling down enough.
Just before midnight, two more leaks appeared in the mid-section of the tank. Those fumes forced a couple of firefighters to evacuate.
By then, several hours had gone by, but the National Response Center, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and local emergency folks were not contacted until six minutes before midnight -- 4.5 hours after the incident started.
Around 12:15 a.m. those storms rolled through with winds up to 70 miles per hour. They were so bad that firefighters and plant workers had to stop trying to contain the spill, and were they had to take shelter.
By 1:20 a.m. Monday morning, the Department of Defense says the leak stopped.
One Radford Arsenal worker was overcome by the fumes, and was taken to the hospital. He's going to be OK, according to the Department of Defense.
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant remains closed after an acid leak sent one person to the hospital.
Strong winds and heavy rain prevented first responders from immediately getting into the plant.
The leak was caused after efforts to reduce high heat in a tank were unsuccessful.
Although the plant is closed, second shift employees at Pyrotechnique by Grucci are asked to report. The company is on the same property as the Radford Army Ammunition Plant.
Here is the news release from the Department of the Army:
At approximately 1930 hours on 1 July 2012 the spent acid tank battery at the RFAAP nitrocellulose building alarmed for excess heat. Initial efforts to reduce the temperature were unsuccessful and the onsite fire department was dispatched to assist. Application of large volumes of water to the exteriors of the tanks was successful at reducing the temperatures of the tanks containing spent nitric acid. One tank containing oleum remained at an extremely high temperature.
At approximately 2330 hours two leaks appeared in the mid-section of the oleum tank and fumes from the oleum forced first responders to evacuate the area.
The National Response Center, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and the Montgomery County (VA) emergency operations center were notified at approximately 2354 hours on 1 July.
At approximately 0015 hours on 2 July a line of severe thunderstorms struck the RfAAP area. Winds in excess of 70 mph and driving rain prevented first responders and plant personnel from immediately containing the spill.
At approximately 0120 hours on 2 July the oleum stopped leaking. On site personnel are sampling to determine the extent of the oleum dispersal and containment operations are underway.
During the initial response one employee was overcome by fumes. He was transported to hospital and held overnight for observation. He did not suffer any life threatening injuries.
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is closed to all but essential personnel, according to signs at the plant.
A source at the facility tells WDBJ7 that there are no injuries, though the source would not elaborate on the incident. The source said BAE, the company that took over operation of the arsenal on Sunday, is taking an abundance of caution.
A WDBJ7 crew is at the plant and will have more information as it becomes available.
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