CANTON -- Hundreds were evacuated from their homes Tuesday night after officials were concerned that a chemical fire was seeping sulfur dioxide into the air.
But what exactly is sulfur dioxide?
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says sulfur dioxide is "a colorless gas with a pungent odor. It is a liquid when under pressure and it dissolves in water very easily."
Sulfur dioxide gets into the air in multiple ways like burning coal or exhaust from some power plants.
According to reports from the scene, the fire at a former packaging business on 19th Street at Harrisburg Road, was releasing sulfur dioxide into the air. Officials say it was measured at 53 parts per million inside the building around 10 p.m. Monday. County HAZMAT officials say that level dropped to 10 ppm around 11:30 p.m., but the number was constantly fluctuating.
According to health officials, levels of sulfur dioxide higher than 30 ppm can be lethal in 10 minutes of exposure. Exposure to 100 ppm of sulfur dioxide is considered "immediately dangerous to life and health."
The evacuation order impacting hundreds in the area was lifted at noon Tuesday. Multiple nearby schools closed for the day as a result of the evacuation area.