« Fire Burns Forest North of Los Angeles | Main | Hemorrhagic Fever in South Africa kills Three »

Chemical Leak in Western Pennsylvania

2500 residents were evacuated Saturday when a chemical leak caused a toxic cloud to form and float through Petrolia, a town north east of Pittsburgh, the Associated Press reported.

A material called oleum, similar to sulfuric acid, leaked from a tank at the Indspec Chemical Corp. plant , plant manager Dave Dorko said.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection said that authorities were concerned that the toxic cloud had the potential to cause respiratory damage and skin burns.

Residents within three miles of the plant were evacuated and allowed to return home on Sunday.

Authorities tested the air determined that no traces of the toxic chemical remained, Freda Tarbell, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said.

"It's about as dangerous as you can get," said, Ed Schrecengost, a former Indspec employee. "It's a very fuming acid. A quart bottle of this material could fill a household in two seconds."