CHARLESTON, W.Va. --
Update: West Virginia will get help from one of its neighboring states; North Carolina.
Governor Pat McCrory released a statement backing an executive order supporting humanitarian relief to West Virginia.
McCrory issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
"This afternoon I waived the size and weight restrictions for trucks so we could expedite delivery of water, equipment and supplies to help our neighbors in West Virginia while they recover from the chemical spill. Regardless of the type of disaster, North Carolina stands ready to help our neighboring states in whatever way we can."
A West Virginia company says it doesn't know how much of a chemical spilled from its plant in Charleston into the Elk River.
But Freedom Industries says it's working to contain the leak and prevent further contamination. Shortly after the spill, the state's governor told residents of the region not to use tap water for drinking, bathing, cooking or washing clothes. State officials say about 300,000 people in nine counties were affected by the order.
They say the orders were issued as a precaution, since they still aren't sure exactly how much of a hazard is posed by the chemical. It's a foaming agent that is used in the coal preparation process. Experts say the chemical is harmful if swallowed, and possibly if it's inhaled, and that it causes eye and skin irritation. Federal authorities are launching an investigation into how the spill happened.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning to deliver more than a million liters of bottled water from nearby Maryland, but the first shipments aren't expected to arrive until tonight. Residents of the area quickly stripped store shelves of their bottled water supplies. One clerk at a convenience store says it was "chaos."