Local emergency officials are meeting today to review the response to a chemical leak at the Shell Canada plant in Corunna Wednesday that left area residents confused.
Elevated levels of benzene were detected outside the plant about 5 p.m., Shell said, but a shelter-in-place warning wasn’t issued until 6:20 p.m.
Sirens sounded in Sarnia and the Sarnia Police Service used the My CNN alert system to advise Corunna residents to go indoors, close all windows, doors, and turn off ventilation systems.
Corunna residents were also advised to tune to local radio, which did not immediately have more information to release.
The incident left some residents uncertain about where to turn for information.
Aamjiwnaang Environment’s Facebook page noted at 5:36 p.m. that a ‘Code 8’ had been issued for an onsite benzene reading at Shell.
Code 8s, a low level alert advising emergency responders of an incident at a plant, are no longer released to local media or the general public.
Calls placed to a number for the Shell refinery’s 24-hour safety and environment line received the message that the line is not in service.
The Twitter account ‘St. Clair Fire’ tweeted an “all clear” at 8:15 p.m., noting that any questions or concerns should be directed to a 1-888 number. Those who called the number reached Gorges Volvo in Omaha, Nebraska.
Benzene is a known carcinogen found in crude oil and gasoline.