Families allowed to go home after West Texas chemical leak

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Residents are being allowed to return home after officials began draining a caustic chemical from a leaking tank in West Texas.

About 100 families began returning home Thursday afternoon, one day after they were forced out by a hydrogen chloride leak from a tank outside an agriculture company.

Lubbock Fire Marshal Robert Loveless said the contents were being transferred to a recovery tank. He said the critical part of the response was connection of a hose between the two tanks without causing a new breach.

Loveless said the transfer could take up to 2 days. The area immediately surrounding the leak remains sealed off, including a few businesses but no homes.

From previous story:

Fire officials in West Texas say a chemical leak continues unabated and nearby residents are being kept away from their homes as a precaution.

Hazardous materials experts are working Thursday to stop the leak at an agricultural company. It has forced the evacuation of about 100 families.

Lubbock Fire Marshal spokesman Robert Loveless says no injuries have been reported and the evacuation that began Wednesday evening was conducted in an area several blocks around the Bayer CropScience facility near Interstate 27. A tank there is leaking hydrogen chloride, which when released and exposed to moisture in the air forms hydrochloric acid.

There's no estimate on how long it might take to stop the leak.

The Lubbock school district cancelled classes at a nearby elementary school because streets around it were closed.

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