Chemical reaction contained at Grand Rapids plant

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Firefighters say residents were not in danger following a chemical reaction Thursday morning at a plant on the city's West Side.

Around 9:30 a.m. a chemical cloud was seen coming from the Haviland plant, located at 421 Ann Street NW. That's near the intersection of Ann and Turner, just west of U.S. 131.

Firefighters say the cloud was caused by a stable chemical reaction that occurred during a mixing process at the plant. Haviland employees were evacuated and people working and living nearby were told to stay inside as a precaution.

The ramp from southbound U.S. 131 to Ann Street was closed while firefighters, police, and a HAZMAT team responded to the situation; it reopened around 1 p.m.

This isn't the first time HAZMAT units have been called to the Haviland plant on Ann Street. The company has two divisions, one provides specialty chemicals for things like surface finishing while the consumer products division distributes more than 85 different swimming pool chemicals.

In July 1991, a fire at the Ann Street plant cause the release of several chemicals. At the time, the EPA said Haviland had not reported the release of 1,700 pounds of chlorine during that fire, something the company denied.

In June of 2003 the Grand Rapids Fire Department responded to the same plant for a nighttime chemical spill. In that case, about a dozen gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled out due to a mechanical failure. There were no injuries and again at the time, company officials said the public was never in danger.


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