Haz Mat Alerts Residents to Stay Indoors, Seal Windows
POSTED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 9:59am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 7:58am
SANTA TERESA, NM — UPDATE: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Doña Ana County Industrial Park reopened for business Tuesday night. Doña County Officials also said the Doña Ana County Airport at Santa Teresa reopened to air traffic and personnel.
The Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department, along with the New Mexico State Police, continue to investigate why so many people at the industrial park became ill.
Hazmat testing at the scene did not yield any results.
A Tuesday morning chemical spill in Santa Teresa near the port of entry prompted emergency response by the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Service Department Hazardous Materials Response Team. About 250 industrial park employees were evacuated to Santa Teresa High school in the morning after complaints of breathing difficulties in the area.
The one-mile evacuation area around Industrial Park near the port of entry has been lifted since the morning, and the temporary shelter at Santa Teresa High School has been deactivated, officials said.
New Mexico State Police have requested a civil-support team from the New Mexico National Guard to deploy to the Doña Ana County Industrial Park at Santa Teresa to assist with monitoring and testing.
The Doña Ana County Industrial Park and the Doña Ana County Airport at Santa Teresa remained closed while the Hazmat investigation proceeds. Closures could remain in place overnight and into Wednesday.
Incident commanders and Santa Teresa High School management have completed an assessment of the day’s operations. Parents and relatives of Santa Teresa High School students have expressed concern about the high school’s involvement and the student body’s safety, officials said. Classes continued without interruption through the day, and the students were in no danger, either from the irritant in the industrial park or from the evacuees who were sent to the school during the time it was used as a temporary shelter, according to a statement from the spokesperson for Dona Ana County. They said the safety of the school’s staff and students as the incident unfolded was never compromised.
"The chemical spill did not occur on the campus of the Santa Teresa High School however emergency response personnel did use the campus auxiliary gym to house employees who were evacuated from the park," said Luis Villalobos, spokesperson for Gadsden Independent School District.
The Las Cruces Fire Department has deployed the following resources to the Hazmat scene: four Hazardous Materials Technicians; one vehicle operator for Haz Mat-4; one Battalion Chief; LCFD Hazardous Materials Unit (Haz Mat-4); and the LCFD Hazardous Materials Mass Decontamination Unit.
The incident command staff has confirmed that the investigation initially centered at the FoamEx plant on the industrial park campus. The investigation is currently moving beyond that plant to other areas in the park nearby.
No private residences were in the evacuation zone.