published Friday, July 11th, 2014

Fire extinguished, spill contained

A chemical spill at JIT Chemicals on Manufacturers Road led to some "tense moments" for employees, according to Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner.

Workers were off-loading a caustic soda from a barge into a storage tank when about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of the material spilled and a fire erupted, Garner said.

JIT workers were evacuated while six fire companies and a hazardous materials team put out the fire and contain the spill. The storage tank is surrounded by an earthen dike that kept the chemicals from spreading.

One 31-year-old worker was contaminated with the caustic soda and was taken to the hospital. He was expected to be treated and released, according to Garner.

Officials said the caustic soda was identified as a 50 percent solution of sodium hydroxide. Firefighters used water to extinguish the fire and they kept spraying the storage tank untilt he leaking valve was closed.

An environmental cleanup company will work with the plant to clean up the mess, Garner said.

Plant officials plan to investigate the cause of the spill and Garner said that other state and federal agencies could be involved in that investigation.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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