UPDATED: Pelham police say chlorine gas leak now clear

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – As of 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, the Pelham Police Department announced that the chlorine gas leak was now clear and residents in the Indian Hills neighborhood and surrounding businesses will soon be able to return back to their homes or place of work.

“I can report that all levels are back to zero in the building as well as outside the building so we’re lifting the restrictions on residents being able to come in and out of their homes as well as the Indian Hills business park,” Pelham Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt said. “We’re proud to report everything is back to normal.”

The entrances to the neighborhood will soon be cleared once the barricades and emergency personnel clear the area.

Multiple emergency response crews from the cities of Pelham, Alabaster, Helena and Hoover were working to clear a HAZMAT situation that occurred at approximately 10:25 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, behind homes in the Indian Hills area of Pelham that resulted in the hospitalization of one person.

The HAZMAT situation was the result of a damaged valve on a chlorine cylinder causing a chlorine gas leak that Honeycutt said crews worked to establish a perimeter around the area. Honeycutt also said the leak would not affect the water for residents who live near the area.

“At 10:25 this morning the Pelham police and fire departments were notified of a potential HAZMAT incident that was occurring behind houses in the Indian Hills area,” Honeycutt said. “Upon investigation, we found it was a chlorine cylinder approximately 140 pounds of chlorine that the valve had damaged and was in fact discharging. At this time, our HAZMAT team, along with the help of the city of Alabaster and the city of Hoover, have established a 300-foot to 500-foot perimeter around the area which does include the Indian Hills area along with Indian Hills business park which is off of Frontage Road on Highway 31 in Pelham. We’re asking everyone to remain indoors with the windows closed, doors closed and to stay inside.”

Honeycutt said no residents were told to evacuate their homes but urged everyone near the area to stay indoors to avoid potentially inhaling the chlorine.

The cylinder malfunctioned inside of a brick building when a contractor for the city of Pelham was inside the building when a chlorine tank discharged.

Emergency response crews worked to put a patch kit on the valve to stop the leak. The water treatment facility is located just behind the homes in the Indian Hills area.

“This is the first type of incident that we’ve had at a water treatment facility so we’re treating this with extreme caution,” Honeycutt said.

The individual transported to the hospital was having difficulty breathing because of the chlorine gas leak.