UPDATE: Chambersburg Rural King closure was caused by chemical spill of fertilizer and chlorine

06 May 2024- In the late evening of May 5, 2024, the Chambersburg Fire Department was called to the Rural  King store located at 1005 Wayne Avenue, within the Borough of Chambersburg, following  reports of a gas-like odor permeating the premises. The initial call was placed at 11:36 PM by the establishment’s personnel. 

Upon the arrival of the first response units at 11:39 PM, it was observed that all store employees  had already evacuated the building, with several reporting mild symptoms of headaches.  Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel promptly conducted health evaluations on-site;  thankfully, none of the employees necessitated transportation for further medical attention. 

A comprehensive search of Rural King’s storage area revealed extensive damage to multiple  pallets containing hazardous materials, including liquid chlorinator, gypsum, Greenskeeper  winter fertilizer, and muriatic acid. Ensuring no personnel remained inside, the fire department  teams confirmed the building was emptied of employees while coordinating containment of the  damaged products. 

Picture of the area involved at Rural King in Chambersburg, from Greater Chambersburg Area Paid Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1813

Given the confirmed presence of hazardous materials and the scale of the spill, the situation  escalated to a HazMat incident, prompting the immediate mobilization of the Franklin County  Department of Emergency Services hazmat team. In an inter-agency collaborative effort, support  was also requested and received from the Letterkenny and Cumberland County hazmat teams. 

The assessment concluded that approximately 30 gallons of liquid chlorine and seven bags of  granulated fertilizer sustained damage, resulting in a moderate chemical spill. A total of 17  emergency service personnel were dispatched to the scene. Remarkably, no injuries were  reported. 

A specialized cleanup crew was subsequently deployed, who managed to neutralize and safely  remove the hazardous materials for appropriate disposal. The operation concluded, and all  emergency response teams were able to clear the scene by approximately 1:30 AM. The  response saw the involvement of the Chambersburg Fire Department, Cumberland County  Hazmat team, Franklin County Hazmat team, Letterkenny Hazmat team, Wellspan EMS,  Marion Fire Department EMS, and the Chambersburg Police Department in addressing this  critical incident. 

Rural King was able to resume normal operations by 10:00 AM the following morning. This incident underscores the importance of prompt reporting and the effective coordination  among various emergency response departments in mitigating potential hazards and ensuring  public safety.