Water still not drinkable in Neodosha following plant fire

Firefighters are working to contain a fire at a southeast Kansas chemical plant after an explosion there injured one employee. This shot was taken from the highway patrol helicopter. (Courtesy: Kansas Highway Patrol)
Firefighters are working to contain a fire at a southeast Kansas chemical plant after an explosion there injured one employee. This shot was taken from the highway patrol helicopter. (Courtesy: Kansas Highway Patrol)

NEODOSHA, Kan. (KSNW) – As the fire at the Airosol Company chemical plant in Neodosha is being allowed to burn out, it’s been learned the company will retain 13 or its 40 employees for now. The move to lay off 27 workers follows the fire Tuesday morning that sent three people to hospitals, one of them with critical injuries.

There’s still smoke in the air around the plant as fire officials in the southeast Kansas town say the fire is fully contained, allowing the remaining flames burn themselves out.

In spite of a chemical smell in the air, health officials who’ve been testing the air quality there say it’s safe to breathe.

The big concern, though, is water.

Citizens in the area have been told not to drink water from city taps, forcing some businesses and restaurants to close in the downtown area. Chemicals from the plant and run-off from fighting the fire have reached the Verdigris River. Residents have been  asked to go to city hall to get bottled water.

City officials sent water samples to be tested and are waiting to hear the results.

“The community needs to know we are working around  the clock, literally, to come up with the best solution to get water back as soon as possible,” said City Commissioner Devin Johnson.

Johnson says the town will likely borrow water from other rural communities, and that they’re hoping b the first of next week to have Neodosha at least on a boil-water status.

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