By Carol A. Gasser Moore
HOMERVILLE, GEORGIA – The Lanier County News (LCN) has been notified that a chemical spill occurred this morning on Highway 84 about a quarter mile from Clinch Memorial Hospital (CMH). CMH hospital staff immediately began to make facility evacuation plans for CMH patients.
An airfield beside Clinch Memorial Hospital is in use for patient evacuations. It is LCN’s understanding that CMH patients are being transferred to Memorial Satilla Health, Miller County Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Hospital for at least a 24-48 hour period. Patients, who are able to be discharged, have been discharged instead of transferred to another facility.
Clinch Memorial Hospital will be closed until the area is deemed safe by a HAZMAT Response Team, once patients are evacuated. The public should also be aware that the CMH Emergency Room will be closed as well. Persons needing ER care should seek it in Lakeland, Valdosta or Waycross.
The Environmental Protection Agency lists hydrochloric acid as toxic, and the chemical spill included that substance. Law enforcement officials are warning the public to stay away from the area until further notice.
Located in Southeast Georgia, Clinch Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital serving Homerville, Clinch County, and surrounding counties.
In a telephone interview, CMH CEO Angela Ammons stated, “Our priority is always the safety of our patients and staff. For this reason, patients of Clinch Memorial Hospital are being evacuated until the spill is cleaned up.”