BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Homes and a church were evacuated Thursday as a result of a chemical leak at a Danville company.
Danville Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit was called to Chem-Cast, 1009 Lynch Road, around mid-morning Thursday regarding a leak involving an epoxy material. Smoke was reported as a result, but no flames, according to radio traffic.
Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason said because of the situation, homes to the north of the business were evacuated as a precaution. The Vermilion County Sheriff’s Department handled the evacuations.
In addition, the sheriff’s department evacuated the Second Church of Christ, which operates a day care on the location.
Executive Pastor Dale DeNeal of the Second Church of Christ said officials contacted the church after 10:30 a.m. and indicated city buses would be brought in to evacuate children from the church. Parents were directed to pick up their children at the New Life Church, located at North Bowman Avenue and Winter Avenue.
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Dennis Wood said the county was contacted just after 10:30 a.m. regarding the evacuation. Three city buses were made available within 20 minutes of the call and the 98 children and 30 staff were moved by 11:15 a.m. Thursday to the New Life Church.
The church used its resources to then contact parents and guardians to come pick up the children. Wood said deputies provided security for the church until all children had been picked up.
Wood said deputies also went door to door to inform nearby residents about the incident. He said, to his knowledge, those who were home agreed to evacuate willingly.
According to Thomason, members of the hazardous materials team were entering the Chem-Cast building around 11:45 a.m. to examine the leak. Members determined the rate of flow of the material as well as the possibility of either damming the leak or containing the chemical in another manner.
After that examination, Thomason said the unit would make a determination on its course of action.
Team members left the scene just before 3 p.m., turning the site over to Bodine Environmental Services for clean-up.
In addition to city and county personnel, the American Red Cross was contacted to respond to the scene of the chemical spill. According to a press release from the organization, volunteers intended to provide mass care, including lunch, snacks, water and Gatorade, to responders on the scene.