Residents within a mile of chemical spill at SABIC told to shelter-in-place

— From the Albany County Sheriff’s Office

At the scene of the spill in Selkirk, a drone with a camera captures a fire truck spraying down a rail car while, to the left, workers wear hazmat suits.


BETHLEHEM — Alerts sent out to residents by the town of New Scotland said that there had been a “hazardous materials incident” this morning just over the town border at SABIC in Selkirk; residents who live within one mile of the facility are being advised to shelter-in-place while non-essential businesses within a half-mile have been evacuated.

“If you are being asked to evacuate, emergency responders will be coming to your location,” the alert from the town says. 

One alert says “emergency services responded to a Styrene spill” at the SABIC facility in Selkirk at 6 a.m., and, “at this time, there are no injuries related to this incident.”

SABIC is a plastics manufacturer owned by the Saudi Arabian government.

A safety release valve on a stationary train car released styrene monomer, a hazardous chemical additive used in plastic manufacturing, according to a release from the governor’s office.

“The release of this hazardous chemical has been halted and state personnel are on the scene now working to contain any potential spread,” said Andrew Cuomo in the release.

He directed staff from various state agencies to the scene, including the State Office of Emergency Management, Department of Environmental Conservation, State Police, and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Route 32 has been closed to traffic. Additional closures include Route 32 at Old Quarry Road, Route 32 at County Route 308, Creble Road at Elm Avenue, and Creble Road at Old School Road.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

At 5:28 p.m. on Tuesday, Bethlehem Police put out an update, noting that residents “may detect a non-hazardous odor that is produced as part of the mitigation of the product.”

The notice also said that no further evacuations are needed but that the roads previously closed are to remain closed until further notice.

“Air monitoring stations are positioned around the scene and will continue to monitor potential environmental impacts,” the police notice said.


The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.