Chemical leak near campus causes student-residents to evacuate

Police evacuated residents from homes within two blocks of Ridge Street and North Enterprise Drive late last night, after determining that a chemical spill at a factory in Bowling Green could be hazardous.

Lt. Brad Biller of the Bowling Green Police Division said the call came in at 10:30 p.m. as a fire alarm at 436 N. Enterprise Dr. When police arrived at the scene fog could be seen from a chemical vapor leak from REMTECH, a chemical clean-up company.

Shortly after, a hazardous materials handling team from Perrysburg Township and the Wood County Emergency Management Agency arrived to help. As of midnight this morning, the HazMat team was still trying to figure out what the chemical substance was, which was leaking as a foggy cloud. At that point, crews guessed the chemical was chlorine, Biller said.

Police stopped actively evacuating residents after 11:30 p.m., Biller said. They established a safe zone from Evers to Pike streets, and between the railroad tracks on Ridge to North Prospect streets. Police cars sat with lights flashing at these intersections, keeping passers-by out of the area near the leak.

While some residents chose to remain safely in their homes, those living closest to the scene were told to evacuate. The Red Cross set up a shelter in Anderson Arena, Biller said. University shuttles provided transportation to and from the shelter site.

Off-campus students and residents in overflow on-campus housing were among those evacuated. Several expressed frustration at the late-night disturbance.

“I have to student-teach tomorrow,” senior Amy Mackris said, shivering outside with four others.

The group stood outside Heinz-Site Apartments, clutching pillows and overnight bags at 11:26 p.m. yesterday. They were told they weren’t allowed to come back until morning, they said.

Emergency personnel cleared the scene by 1:30 a.m.

Reporter Lisa Halverstadt contributed to this report.