Chemical leak prompts evacuations in Santa Teresa

Chemical leak prompts evacuations in Santa Teresa

POSTED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 10:32pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 9:54am

UPDATE: 9:45 a.m.  Officials say the non-toxic fumes were strong chili pepper, and dozens of employees were hospitalized. We will update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Emergency crews cleared the scene at 2 a.m. Thursday, according to New  Mexico State Police. Businesses were allowed to reopen and employees were allowed back inside.

ORIGINAL: Emergency responders were busy evacuating people from the Santa Teresa Logistics park near Airport Road. New Mexico State Police confirm area hospitals have been warned to prepare for more than 100 patients.

A business owner in the park also tell us the leak originated at a chile plant in the business park. Police say the fumes are non-toxic. Employees complained of watery eyes and a chemical taste in their mouths.

Authorities do not yet know what typle of chemical they're dealing with. A HAZMAT team is trying quickly evacuate the employees and examine whether they need to be taken to hospitals.

Meanwhile, investigators have closed off part of  Airport  Road in Santa Teresa which leads into the factory and that business park.

No one is allowed to get by, including the many truckers waiting to make deliveries who are parked along the street.

We spoke with one woman on the phone who is still waiting to be evacuated from inside the park. She's frustrated employees inside aren't being updated on what's happening and is worred for the 50 or so other employees with her inside.

A similar incident occurred at the plant one year ago.

Stay tuned to Newschannel 9 for all the latest.

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