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Chemical spill reported at MGP Ingredients, multiple people being treated for respiratory discomfort

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ATCHISON, Kan. -- The all clear has been given after a chemical spill in Atchison, Kan., Friday morning caused residents to either evacuate or shelter in place.

Atchison County Emergency Management reported at 9:07 a.m., that a chemical spill occurred at MGP Ingredients between 10th and 14th Streets south of Main Street.

"At 8:02 a.m.,  two chemicals inadvertently mixed on top of each other and that caused the gas plume to develop," city manager Trey Cocking said.

Atchison residents were asked to stay indoors and turn their air or heat off to prevent outside air from coming in their homes. People who did not live in Atchison were asked to avoid the area.

MPG Ingredients is a supplier of distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. The company, which began in 1941 is headquarted in Atchison, Kan. EPA data shows MPG Ingredients was last inspected for air quality in March of 2016. In 2015 they were fined $6,000 for EPA violations.

A spokesperson with the emergency management team said they believe the chemicals could be a mix of sulfuric acid and chlorine.

According to an alert from Benedictine College, classes were canceled. The college made buses available to shuttle students out of the affected areas.

The Atchison Public Schools superintendent also said that the middle school, high school and alternative Central School were evacuated as a precaution. The elementary school sheltered in place.

The Atchison County Courthouse was evacuated and District Court was canceled for the remainder of the day.

FOX 4's health reporter Meryl Lin McKean reached out to Atchison Hospital who said they had 27 patients experiencing upper respiratory discomfort. They will be kept for six hours for observation. St. Luke's Cushing hospital in Leavenworth reports they treated two people with respiratory issues.

The city manager tells FOX 4 at least five of the people being treated were city employees, including police officers and firefighters.

At 10:42 a.m., the city had issued an all clear, but advised anyone experiencing any difficulty breathing to go to the hospital.

The city manager says the city is not aware of any serious injuries and the cloud of gas had mostly dissipated.

At 10:42 a.m., students were being allowed to go back to their classes.

Basehor-Linwood's football team is scheduled to play at Atchison High School Friday night. There is no word on whether the schools will cancel the game.

FOX 4 has crews on the scene and will be adding new information as it becomes available.

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