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Willmar, Minnesota, authorities respond to chlorine leak at County Road 5 substation

A chlorine leak was reported at 12:33 p.m. Friday. Responding departments closed a portion of the road to through traffic between Word of Faith Family Church to the south and Herzog Apartments to the north.

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Firefighters with the Willmar Fire Department hose down an individual to ensure they have no chlorine left on their protective suit while investigating a chlorine spill at a substation south of Herzog Apartments on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Editor's note: Since initial publication, this story has been updated with a few additional details. Limited information has been available so far as crews remained at the scene Friday evening. More is expected later.

WILLMAR โ€” Willmar authorities closed County Road 5 Northwest for several hours Friday afternoon after receiving a report of a chlorine leak.

The call reporting a leaking chlorine cylinder was received at 12:33 p.m. Friday, according to the Willmar Police Department media report.

The Willmar Police Department, Willmar Fire Department and Blomkest Fire Department responded to the initial call.

There had not yet been any official statements as of 5:30 p.m. Friday, and emergency vehicles were still on the scene at that time.

Firefighters were observed wearing protective gear. Those dealing directly with the leak donned full-cover blue protective suits. Their colleagues hosed off their suits as they left the area of the leak.

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County Road 5 was closed between the Word of Faith Family Church and the Herzog Apartments north of U.S. Highway 12.

An email sent after 5 p.m. Friday to residents of the Herzog Apartments asked tenants to enter the complex from the north. The email said the leak was coming from a shed behind one of its buildings, but the shed is owned by the city and not part of the apartment complex.

Residents along 29th Street Northwest were observed being evacuated from the scene, and pedestrians were advised to move away from the scene and/or find a vehicle in which to wait.

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Law enforcement restricts access to a portion of Kandiyohi County Road 5 while investigating a chlorine spill south of Herzog Apartments on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Individuals in protective suits begin work to investigate a chlorine spill south of Herzog Apartments on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Firefighters suit up in protective gear before heading over to investigate a chlorine spill south of Herzog Apartments near Kandiyohi County Road 5 on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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People in protective suits return to the fire truck to be prayed off by a fire hose to remove contaminants after investigating a chlorine spill south of Herzog Apartments on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "West Central Tribune staff report." Often, the "West Central Tribune staff report" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

The West Central Tribune newsroom can be reached via email:
news@wctrib.com or phone 320-235-1150.
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