Bradley County Schools are closed today after a second explosion at a Wacker, Tennessee chemical plant, last night. So far, eight people have been admitted to the emergency room due to minor irritations from the incident, including one firefighter who responded and was taken to the hospital for “heat exhaustion.” This is the second time in one week the Wacker Chemical plant has experienced an incident. 1


Bradley County EMA says that shifting wind near the plant could cause problems for residents living up to 1.5 miles south of Wacker so, as a precaution, they should stay inside until notified otherwise and not use their AC units. It was also advised that people avoid the Charleston, Tennessee area. However, the Charleston shelter in place advisory has since been lifted.2

The Tennessee Occupational and Health Safety Administration is aware of the most recent incident and will now combine their investigation from last night with the incident last week “where five people were injured.” 3


On Wednesday afternoon, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office released a statement about the Wacker explosion:

“At approximately 4:00 p.m. an alleged explosion was reported to the 911 Communications Center from residents around Wacker Polysilicon, located in Charleston, TN. Upon arrival, first-responders were able to determine a mechanical failure caused a plume of low-concentrated hydrochloric acid to form a cloud that was visible within a portion within the Charleston area.Students from Walker Valley High School students sheltered in place and CharlestonElementary School students were transported to Ocoee Middle School for pickup by parents. Additionally, residents within the Charleston area were advised to shelter in place and turn off H.V.A.C. systems to minimize exposure. Representatives from Wacker Polysilicon and area first-responders were able to evaluate the incident in order to communicate the precautionary procedures to ensure the safety of the community. Earlier reports advised there were no injuries at the facility; however medical responders were able to locate one patient at the facility needing medical assistance. At this time we are unable to determine if the patient’s injuries are related to the incident or health related.”


Sources and References

  1. ABC6, WATE, August 7, 2017.
  2. ABC6, WATE, August 7, 2017.
  3. ABC6, WATE, August 7, 2017.