Jackson Chemical Accident Evacuates Workers/Residents

Problems started at the Jackson Metal and Iron business on Brooklyn Rd. after a crane operator cut into a drum of Ethyl Mercaptan, a potentially dangerous chemical added to propane and natural gas.

Hazardous materials experts say they won't know until Monday to see if it's safe for workers to go back inside the plant.

The fire department there says the chemical spilled out and its fumes reached nearby residents. They say breathing in large amounts of the chemical can kill.

As a result, three workers were taken to the hospital for observation. A nearby mobile home park was evacuated for several hours as a precaution.

"We came back home and they told us we couldn't come back because we were being evacuated because of the gas break," said mobile home resident Diane Adams.

"To my knowledge, the employees are planning on returning to work Monday morning," said Jackson fire department police chief Brian Thurston. "We are going to go there Monday morning prior to them starting operations and do some monitoring and make sure things are safe for them to come back."

Two of the three employees were taken by ambulance and treated for dizziness. They were later sent home.

One was admitted and kept overnight.

An environmental services company in Jackson is in charge of the chemical clean-up operation.