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'All clear' after gas release near Elgin; I-20 reopens to traffic, WeylClem partially reopens Thursday morning

The incident began around 6 p.m. Wednesday near the town of Elgin.

ELGIN, S.C. — As of Wednesday night, Interstate 20 has reopened in all directions in Kershaw County after a gas release caused a 10 mile long stretch of the roadway to be shut down for several hours. 

Kershaw County Fire Chief Will Glover said officials gave the "all clear" around 10 p.m. Wednesday for an area near White Pond Road and I-20.  The South Carolina Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol had blocked the Interstate 20 between Exit 82 and 92 starting around 6 p.m.. That general area is from the Highway 601 exit down to White Pond Road near Elgin and down to Spears Creek Church Road. 

All lanes are now moving again and all detours have now stopped. 

Officials told News19 the incident originated at Weylchem chemicals plant near I-20. According to fire officials, a mixture of chemicals was released into the air. After several hours, it was determined there was no danger to the community. Crews did not specify what the chemicals were. 

What caused the release was not immediately known. No injuries were reported. 

Kershaw County officials say there was never a fire. 

A spokesperson from WeylChem US Inc. released a statement last night saying: "On 07/27/2022 at approximately 5:45pm, we had an incident at the WeylChem US Inc. facility in Elgin, SC. First and foremast, we have the highest regard for the safety of our employees, our environment, and our neighbors. All employees were evacuated immediately, and there was full notification to the authorities. There were no injuries. The authorities are onsite assisting in response and have set up a secure perimeter. They are assessing the situation to determine when that perimeter can be reduced. We are following their lead, and providing full technical support throughout this incident to ensure the safety of the people around us is maintained until the event is complete. We will not bring the unit back online until we can complete a full investigation and understand the source of the issue."

The company updated the status Thursday morning, saying "parts of the plant are running and the office is open. We are working to bring up additional processes as we clear the area of impact. There have been no reports of impact in the community."

Some homes were briefly evacuated as a precaution and Lugoff Elgin High School was temporarily set up as a shelter. However, that shelter has now closed. 

"Everybody's allowed back in their homes. The evacuations were based off of [windy] weather conditions at the time. And the gas cloud," said Kershaw County officials.

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