Two companies indicted for 2016 toxic gas cloud in Atchison

Marc LaVoie
March 07, 2019 - 6:43 am

KMBC Channel 9 News

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The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday it as indicted two Kansas companies over the toxic gas cloud incident that occurred in Atchison on October 21, 2016.

Midwest Grain Products Incorporated, of Atchison, and Harcros Chemicals Incorporated, of Kansas City, Kansas, are charged with Clean Air Act violations.

"I freaked out, it smelled really bad," said Debbie Lewis, who was in Atchison when the toxic chlorine gas was released. "I know there are a lot of people that got sick out of it, and had it not been under control so fast, it could have been a pretty bad situation."

More than 140 people sought medical attention.

The indictment says a Harcros driver pulled a truck into Midwest Grain’s facility to deliver sulfuric acid. An operator for Midwest Grain helped the driver, but the driver mistakenly connected the wrong lines.

The companies face fines of up to $1.7 million.

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