Chemical spill shuts down much of W.Va. capital - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Chemical spill shuts down much of W.Va. capital

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Schools and restaurants closed, stores sold out of bottled water, and legislators canceled business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston affected about 300,000 people and shut down much of the city and surrounding counties.

The federal government joined the state Friday in declaring a disaster. In requesting the federal declaration, state officials said about 100,000 customers, or roughly 300,000 people total, were affected.

After the Thursday spill from Freedom Industries hit the river, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered customers of West Virginia American Water not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes with tap water.

The state National Guard planned to distribute bottled water to emergency services agencies in the nine affected counties.

The cause of the spill remain unclear.

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