West Memphis crews respond to leak at former chemical plant

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A chemical leak forced West Memphis fire officials to evacuate several businesses shortly after noon Thursday.

West Memphis Fire Department responded to a possible bromine leak at the former Diaz Chemical Company on Wyanoke Road off Port Road.

Hazardous Materials crews say they saw a brownish-red colored cloud at the back of the property when they arrived. They sent a drone up to investigate.

Diaz Chemical Company has been out of business since approximately 2008, fire officials said, but a private chemical disposal company was at the site attempting to remove old tanks.

Bromine is a toxic chemical used in agricultural chemicals, dyes, insecticides and pharmaceuticals.

The United States Environmental Services was on site Thursday afternoon assisting the property owner with proper cleanup. The local fire department said Friday morning the area appears to be clear of all hazards.

The five nearby businesses that were evacuated Thursday have been allowed to resume normal operations.

Officials estimated about 15 gallons of bromide leaked.