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Chemical Safety Board Examining Inside Of Freedom Industries Tank

Reported: Apr. 24, 2014 5:20 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 24, 2014 11:05 PM EDT

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams, Heath Harrison) -- The U.S. Chemical Safety Board took a look inside one of the tanks at Freedom Industries on Thursday.

They cut a hole in Tank 396, which leaked MCHM into the Elk River on Jan. 9, contaminating drinking water for 300,000 people in nine West Virginia counties.

Crews spent more than an hour and a half cutting a gigantic hole on the side of the tank. Once the hole was cut, the Chemical Safety Board walked around inside the tank to get more information on what went wrong.

It was a slow process to cut a door on the tank. A saw cut into the metal, and the front of the tank was eventually lifted off. The CSB is going to be testing the tank through May 9. Then attorneys involved with Freedom Industries lawsuits are going to take samples from inside the tank.

After all that, the tanks are going to be taken down. People who live in the area said they are happy to see the beginning of the end.

“Just really relieved,” Patty Schott of Charleston said. “I got so depressed. We've been smelling it before everyone else did, anyway. Plus, our roads here have been really tore up and everything else."

Barring any major setbacks, demolishing of the tanks is going to start on May 12.

Now that there is a huge hole in one of the tanks, the licorice smell is noticeable again, but it's not nearly as strong as when the leak occurred.

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