The Kern County Sheriff's Office recommended evacuation Wednesday afternoon for those within a 6-mile radius of Taft Manufacturing Co. at 19705 South Lake Road in Taft after reports of a chemical leak. Members of the Kern County Fire Department were able to stop the leak early in the afternoon, a spokesman said, but they still have to neutralize and clean up the spilled substance which leaked for at least two hours.
Law enforcement have not confirmed what chemical leaked; however, Taft Mayor Dave Noerr said the chemical in question is acrolein. Taft Manufacturing is a chemical producer specializing in acrolein, which is used to make plastic, paint, and pesticides. The colorless chemical is hazardous if inhaled, eaten, or touched, and can cause eye irritation.
A spokesman from the Fire Department said no injuries have been reported and that Taft Manufacturing employees were all evacuated safely.
Those evacuating can find shelter at First Baptist Church at 220 North Street in Taft. Animal Services will assist with sheltering companion animals at the center.
While the evacuation applies to those within 6 miles of the leak, the Fire Department is advising that anyone living or working between 6 and 9 miles from Taft Manufacturing remain inside and keep windows, doors, and vents closed. A department spokesman said officials expect to lift the evacuation sometime later today.