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What was that yellow cloud over I-265 in New Albany? Here's what officials say

Officials suggest residents near the area should stay indoors and not breathe in the chemical as the cloud dissipates.
Credit: Parker Roberts
Officials at the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency said the orangeish-yellow chemical is Nitrate Acid.

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — New Albany drivers were startled Tuesday morning when they noticed a yellow cloud lingering overhead during their morning commute.

The faint haze was spotted by several viewers lofting over Interstate 265 near Grant Line Road.

Floyd County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Kent Barrow and the New Albany Fire Department are investigating the strange haze.

So what is it?

Barrow told WHAS11 that the cloud is a Nitrate Acid by-product that was released at Bluegrass Chemical Supplies on Industrial Boulevard.

Paul McCauley, executive vice president of Bluegrass Chemical Supplies, said the air is safe to breathe in New Albany following the release of chemicals.

It's unknown how the chemical was released and whether or not it was intentional. McCauley said they've issued an "internal investigation" to find the root cause.

When asked if Nitric Oxide is harmful to breathe in, McCauley said, "Well NOx (Nitric Oxide) is a pollutant, so, no pollutant is good to breathe in, needless to say."

Regarding the chemical spill, New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said, "pending investigation I think everything's fine." 

Credit: INDOT
INDOT camera shows a faint yellow haze over I-265 near Grant Line Road in New Albany.

Officials say once the chemicals were released outside, they dissipated quickly. However, McCauley said the interior of the building was "rather contaminated."

According to officials, no one from Bluegrass Chemical Supplies was taken to the hospital.

Two schools and several other businesses in the area were under a shelter-in-place order immediately after the incident. They have since ended the order.

INDOT reported part of the interstate was shut down due to a "chemical hazard." It has since reopened.

WHAS11 has sent a crew to the scene for more information. This story will be updated as we learn more.

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