Homes evacuated after chemical spill
By 05/24/2007 00:00:00
ENNIS - Approximately eleven homes were evacuated in Ennis because of a dangerous chemical spill at Schirm, USA.
Approximately 50 gallons of an agricultural insecticide called methyl parathion spilled during a warming of drums of the product's active ingredient when two began to steam according to the news reports on Wednesday, May 16.
When workers noticed the drums were hotter than normal they began to apply water to them attempting to cool them down.
During the workers attempt to cool the drums down, two of the drums ruptured spilling the insecticide.
According to Schirm President Gus Jones, the workers then contacted the Ennis Fire Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, once this was done the plant was evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Additional evacuations of residents who lived within 5,000 feet of the plant were also asked to leave pending the finding of the state and governmental agencies.
Authorities in Ellis County said residents were allowed to return to their homes after environmental experts from the state pronounced the area safe.
Anita Foster, spokesperson for the North Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross, said her agency provided assistance to the 11 families forced out of their homes.
Foster added most of the families found shelter with relatives and friends but the Red Cross did provide emergency housing for one family.
The families were allowed to return to their homes around 7 a.m. on Thursday, May 17.
Methyl parathion is an orgnophosphate used to control boll weevils and biting or sucking insects primarily in cotton.
Symptoms can include numbness, tingling sensations, headaches, dizziness, tremor, nausea, cramps, sweating, blurred vision, difficulty breathing or slow heartbeat.
Schirms, USA has been manufacturing the insecticide for farmer's use for more than 20 years and had never had any problems with the products until last week according to reports.