Chemical reaction causes Smithfield Packing, several homes to be evacuated

TAR HEEL — The Smithfield Packing Plant in Tar Hell has been evacuated after an early morning chemical reaction.

At about 3:30 a.m., a chemical reaction occurred between sodium hypochlorite and acid during a cleaning process. The chemical was contained inside the building. All employees were evacuated as well as several homes nearby for precautionary measures.

Emergency crews are currently working to ventilate the building which when complete will allow employees to return to work. Seven employees were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Bladen County Emergency Services Director Bradley Kinlaw said the incident appeared to be accidental.

Units responding included Tar Heel FD, Tobermory FD, Dublin FD, Elizabethtown FD, White Oak FD, Bladenboro FD, Tar Heel EMS, Bladenboro EMS, Bladen Co EMS, Cape Fear Valley EMS, Robeson EMS, Bladen SO, NCSHP, Bladen Co Emergency Management, Cumberland Co Emergency Management, NC Emergency Management, and Fayetteville FD (Haz-Mat).

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