Smelly chemical spill in Georgia wafts to Pike County

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pike County residents woke up to a skunky smell in the air Wednesday morning that traveled to the area from Georgia.

The Crisp County Fire Department responded to Drexel Chemical Company in Cordele, Ga. about 2 a.m. Wednesday following an insecticide spill.

“There were two injuries reported. Two people went to the ER for treatment for respiratory problems,” said Lisa Jamak-Newman with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

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Jamak-Newman said GEMA had not been asked for assistance, but a field coordinator was in place to assess the situation. She also said that Georgia Poison Control was on the scene of the spill.

According to a Crisp County deputy’s report, when he responded to the scene the deputy found that at least 12 55-gallon drums had “exploded and chemicals had drained all over the ground. The drums were marked INSECTICIDE.”

Georgia meteorologists reported that low-lying clouds kept the chemical odor from dissipating early on and allowed it to travel to parts of Alabama. However, by mid-afternoon the cloud cover lifted providing some relief, Jamak-Newman said.

The Pike County EMA alerted residents to the spill Wednesday morning and asked people to be cautious if they had medical problems.

“When people hear chemical spill, they get concerned. This isn’t anything that is going to kill us, but people with respiratory problems should stay indoors until this is over,” said Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes.

The Dothan/Houston County EMA, Henry County EMA, Pike County EMA, Barbour County EMA, Coffee County EMA, Dale County EMA and the Alabama Department of Public Health kept track of the matter Wednesday for Alabama residents.

Georgia Poison Control was called to the scene at Drexel to assess the situation, Jamak-Newman said.

Drexel Chemical Company manufactures growth regulators, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants/surfactants and micronutrients, according to the company’s website.

EMA officials urge anyone who has respiratory conditions affected by the spill to seek medical attention. Call the Alabama Department of Public Health at (334) 693-9716 with questions.