UPDATE: Wacker apologizes to community in full page ad, but resi - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Wacker apologizes to community in full page ad, but residents still wary

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CHARLESTON (WRCB) -

UPDATE: For the first time, we're seeing an apology from Wacker after a series of incidents at the chemical plant. If you picked up a paper this morning, you might have seen a full-page ad from Wacker summed up in its first two words - "We apologize."

A full-page letter from a company plagued by a string of recent events at their Charleston plant. The company had something happen three times in two weeks.

The company starts out by "apologizing for any confusion or anxiety" they caused.

"That apology looks like your standard form that a company rep would put out,” said resident Ronald Barnett. Some people aren't ready to accept the letter.

"It’s been a week, they should've come out in at least two days if it's as minor as they say it is,” he said.

The company outlines new details of the gas leak last week that forced a shelter in place. Incident response teams found residual material from damaged piping and plan to remove it, but they didn't specify when.

We now know the incident happened in a compressor room, it's where the explosion went off and rattled the community. Those details jump out as people read the ad.

"They told him to get into the house and turn the A/C off, and he said I don't live here and they told him to load the lawn mower up and go home,” Resident Jeff Brewer said.

While some say this apology is a good first step, others aren't sure.

"Do they owe people more? “I don't really know," Brewer questioned.

Brewer isn't sure, because, like many residents, he still has a lot of questions for the company. And so do we; Channel 3 has reached out every day in the last week to Wacker with little response.

"The more open they are, the better it is for everybody,” Barnett said.

The company says they will no longer produce polysilicon and the plant will remain closed until the investigation is complete.

Wacker also states in the letter that they've been in talks with a third party expert to determine more details about what happened last week.


PREVIOUS STORY: Wacker-Chemie took out a full-page ad in Thursday's edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, apologizing to their surrounding community. 

They noted the stress of last week's explosion and thanked first responders.

The letter also thanks the 700 Wacker employees involved.

READ MORE | County commissioner says Wacker plant & neighbors have a lack of communication

Wacker says the Charleston plant is "safe and secure." Production has been suspended as Wacker works on its internal investigation.

The company claims they will not re-start production of polysilicon until the facts surrounding the explosion and release are determined.

According to the letter, "an independent third-party expert" has been engaged "to determine more details about what happened last week."

The ad is shown below, in its entirety:

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is a newspartner of Channel 3.

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