Southwest Montana town temporarily evacuated for hazmat incident


Evacuation orders in a small southwest Montana town have been lifted after the cleanup of potentially explosive chemicals.

Norris, located about 35 miles west of Bozeman, was temporarily evacuated after Environmental Protection Agency officials say hazardous chemicals posed a threat to the public.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office briefly shut down roads leading to Norris Labs, where the chemicals were found.

Officials say they were able to remove the chemicals from the building but said it could have been much worse.

Nearby businesses and residents were evacuated as a precaution.

EPA officials said they have been working at the lab since Tuesday, because the state didn't believe the owner of the facility had the resources to get rid of the hazardous chemicals.

Hazmat crews said they safely disposed of the chemicals and are thankful the situation was taken care of without incident.

"If, you know, some kids had gotten into this, knocked it over, even an animal knocking over some of the containers -- it would have been enough to set off a fairly catastrophic event," said EPA official Craig Myers.

Crews didn't give a timetable of when the cleanup will be finished, but they did say the most dangerous substances are gone and remaining contaminants are still being cleaned up.

They also say the state will decide what will be done with the lab.

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