KPD e-News Release: Event at Eastman Chemical Company Today

Kingsport Police Department

Dale Phipps, Chief of Police

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

SUBJECT: Event at Eastman Chemical Company Today
DATE: July 22, 2022
On Friday, July 22, 2022 at 10:17 AM, Kingsport Central Dispatch received a call from Eastman Chemical Company. At that time, Eastman requested for one Kingsport Fire Department engine to respond to the Eastman Fire Department to stand-by in reference to a power outage.

At 10:31 AM, K.F.D. arrived on scene.

At 10:50 AM, Eastman released their first public statement, which read:

“Eastman is experiencing a power outage at its site. We do not yet know the cause of the outage and are working to gather more information. We will provide more information as soon as we have it.”

At 11:02 AM, out of an abundance of caution, City Manager Chris McCartt activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Kingsport Central Dispatch.

Over the next hour, Police, Fire, EMA, and City government personnel worked to gather additional information, relying extensively upon Eastman to provide that information, and then plan accordingly. The information that Eastman communicated in their public statements mirrored what they relayed to Kingsport Central Dispatch and was received by Central Dispatch along the same timeframe as their statements were shared publicly.

At 12:11 PM, Eastman released a second public statement, which read:

“Eastman is experiencing a power outage at its Kingsport manufacturing site. We are working to safely shutdown operations on site. As the shutdowns occur, loud steam venting will occur and plumes of steam will be visible. There was a release of iodine from the site flare that caused a purple plume that may have been seen offsite. This release has been stopped. We have no reason to believe this plume presented a threat onsite or outside of our plant. There are no injuries onsite and all team members are accounted for. Out of an abundance of caution employees in the impacted areas were asked to remain indoors and that shelter in place has now been lifted. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as we have them. We are also working closely with the City of Kingsport as we work through this situation.”

At 12:14 PM, Kingsport Central Dispatch initiated a Hyper-Reach automated community notification alert message to be delivered to every landline and cell phone, via voice call and/or text message, within a 10-mile radius of Eastman as well as subscribed email addresses. That message read:

“The City of Kingsport is in communication with Eastman Chemical Company regarding an event earlier today. City officials are currently monitoring the situation in an attempt to gather further information. Eastman officials have advised that they do not have reason to believe that there is a threat onsite or outside of the plant. At this time, until more facts are obtained, citizens are strongly urged to avoid the area of the plant to prevent unnecessary vehicular congestion and delays, as responding personnel travel to and from the scene. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”

Due to the design limitations of the Hyper-Reach system, that notification process can take several hours to complete and reach all intended recipients.

At 2:40 PM, based upon information known at the time, the Hyper-Reach notification process, which was still in progress, was stopped. By that time, the message had been delivered to approximately 50,000 contacts.

At 3:31 PM, K.F.D. cleared the scene and returned to station.

At 3:33 PM, the Emergency Operations Center at Kingsport Central Dispatch was deactivated.

At 3:49 PM, Eastman released a third public statement which read:

“Following a power outage that occurred this morning at the Kingsport site, all operations have been safely shut down. There is no risk to the community as a result of this outage.

‘The most important responsibility we have is the safety of our employees and our community,’ said Mark Bogle, vice president and Tennessee manufacturing site leader. ‘There were no injuries as a result of this event and Eastman did not issue any evacuation notices. In an excess of caution, employees located in the south area of the plant were asked to remain indoors and were released after a short time. As soon as we were aware of this incident, we established communication with city officials, and I would like to thank them for their partnership during this incident. I understand that events like today’s power loss can cause concern in our community. We are working to determine the cause and restart the site in the coming days.’

Due to the unplanned shutdown, we had a release of oil to the river and downstream users were notified. There was also a release of methyl iodide and iodine (purple gas) to the air. During this release, our safety systems minimized the impact of the emissions from this event as confirmed by air dispersion modeling. Air dispersion modeling indicated this event did not pose any risk to human health or the environment outside the plant. All releases were reported to the regulatory agencies as required.

As we work to restore power and restart the site, the community can expect to hear loud steam venting and see more steam than usual coming from the site.

We appreciate the hard work of our employees to safely shut down operations and are grateful for the support of our community. Eastman’s Care Line is available 24/7 for any questions or concerns you may have at 423-229-2273 (CARE).”

In situations such as this, city officials rely heavily upon subject matter experts at Eastman to provide them with accurate and timely information that can in turn be shared with the public. Based upon information city officials have received, Eastman has given no indication of any injuries, a threat onsite or outside of the plant, or a risk to the community as a result of this incident.

Moving forward, city officials will maintain active communications with Eastman regarding this event.

Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-343-9749 (FAX)


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