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2,500 flee chemical leak near Pittsburgh

October 12, 2008|From The Associated Press

PETROLIA, PA. — A corrosive liquid overflowed from a tank at a chemical plant Saturday in western Pennsylvania, evaporating into a toxic cloud that snaked along the ground and forced about 2,500 to flee. At least three residents were believed to be injured.

Oleum, a material similar to sulfuric acid, leaked from a tank at the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant in Petrolia, said plant manager Dave Dorko.

Authorities were concerned about the potential for respiratory damage and skin burns, said Freda Tarbell of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Authorities went door to door to warn the 2,500 people living within two miles to evacuate. Residents were taken to shelters in nearby towns, and officials said they did not know when they could return.

Petrolia is about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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