LATEST: All residents and businesses on New Plymouth's Colson Rd have been evacuated following a potentially life-threatening toxic chemical spill at the Kiwi Rail freight centre.
Firefighters, police and the hazardous material team are at the scene where a tank containing the chemical has been doused in foam to stop the spill spreading.
A reporter at the scene said police had blocked off Colson up to the Smart Rd intersection and were turning people away.
About 30 cars had been turned away and at least 40 people have been evacuated, she said.
Sergeant Pat Duffy said he had been told the chemical was highly toxic and potentially life threatening.
Workers have been told to go home for the day and residents have been told it will be at least an hour before they are allowed back inside.
"If they have somewhere else to go it would be a good idea," Mr Duffy said.
Deb Black, who works at Taranaki Paving, said she could smell a chemical smell that was quite acidic and police had told her quite strongly to get out.
SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said she had only been at work a short time when police arrived and told her and everyone else in the building to get out.
"I'd only been at work 10-15 minutes and there were fire engines arriving when I got there," she said.
Ms Poles-Smith said she had been told the chemical was a gas that was very dangerous.
"It's lethal and highly flammable," she said.
"I could smell it and taste it, I can still tastes it. It has a metallic taste."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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