West Virginia gov declares state of emergency for chemical spill

Thu Jan 9, 2014 7:51pm EST

Jan 9 (Reuters) - West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for five counties on Thursday following a chemical spill along the Elk River in Charleston, the state's capital and largest city, according to the governor's office and local officials.

Health officials are advising residents not to drink, bathe or cook in the water, and only use it for flushing and fire fighting.

Counties affected include Boone, Kanawha and Putnam.

According to a warning to residents posted on the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department website, "conditions indicate there is a high probability that your water is contaminated," although no testing has been done yet.

Local media is reporting the chemical leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston, which produces chemicals for mining, cement and steel industries. A representative for Freedom Industries was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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