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W.Va. Chemical Spill Prompts State of Emergency

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday in five counties because of a chemical spill into the Elk River.

The state of emergency includes West Virginia American Water customers in Boone, Lincoln, Kanawha, Jackson and Putnam counties, according to NBC station WSAZ.

Residents were told not to drink the water, bathe in it or cook with the water and only use it for flushing and fire emergencies. Boiling it will not remove the chemicals.

The declaration is believed to impact 100,000 customers, WSAZ reported.

The station said the chemical leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston. The leaked product is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation, according to WSAZ.

Freedom Industries did not immediately respond for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.