Cyanide identified in Mishawaka chemical leak - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Cyanide identified in Mishawaka chemical leak

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Mishawaka Residents are happy to be in their homes Saturday night after being evacuated due to a chemical leak at the old Baycote Factory Friday.  Hundreds were told to leave their homes while a foul smell lingered in the air.  We now know what at least one of the chemicals was, causing the odor.  Paul Atkociunas, the on scene coordinator for the EPA said, "we do know there was cyanide present."  But there are still a lot of unknowns.  "It's an abandoned facility, there were tens of thousands of gallons of hazardous waste on site and containers in very deteriorated condition and unknowns, labels gone," said Atkociunas.

Despite all that the threat to local residents was gone Saturday morning.  The Mishawaka Fire Department said the all clear was given around 7 a.m. Saturday morning and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

"They had fire trucks and cop cars coming up and down the street and knocking on everybody's door," said Mitch Miller, who was evacuated Friday night.  "We knew something was up cause the whole entire street smelled like sulphur."

Hundreds of others were also told to leave their homes.  A Red Cross Shelter was set up at the Mishawaka Catholic School, St Joseph Campus for those who had no other place to go.  There was food, water, cots, and more

Miller and girlfriend Maggie Wilder were happy they had family to stay with.  And while they sat down with family, Atkociunas said they were busy figuring out the situation at the old BayCote Factory and working to lessen the threat.  Atkociunas said they did have a contingency plan in place in case something like this happened.  He said with the help of the police and fire departments that plan worked.  And now residents should feel safe in their homes.  Atkociunas said "It's stable right now and we're in a phase of monitoring to make sure nothing changes."

Good news for those residents who were inconvenienced by the evacuations but understand it could have been worse.  "I'm just glad it wasn't a tornado or a hurricane where you have to come back and rebuild.  We were just able to come back," said Wilder.  They're even able to laugh about it.  "I was hoping it might be a little longer so I wouldn't have to mow the lawn," said Miller.

The EPA is continuing to monitor the air in the area.

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