FBI arrests 19-year-old in connection with Houston mercury spill
HOUSTON, TX - A 19-year-old has been arrested in connection with a mercury spill that put dozens of people in danger.
According to ABC News, between 30 and 60 people had to be decontaminated when trace amounts of mercury were found in three Houston locations on Sunday.
The FBI's Houston office confirmed that Christopher Lee Melder was charged with burglary, unlawful disposal of hazardous material, as well as an outstanding felony drug possession warrant.
Early Monday, the FBI announced that Melder was taken into custody for questioning.
UPDATE Christopher Lee Melder, 19, has been arrested & charged with Burglary, Unlawful Disposal of Hazardous Material, and an outstanding felony drug possession warrant. @houstonpolice @HoustonOEM @HoustonFire #HouNews— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) December 16, 2019
The incident was first reported around 11:15 a.m., Sunday, when someone called 911 to say they'd spotted a white liquid on the ground. Upon inspection, authorities found that liquid mercury had been spilled outside of a Walmart, Sonic Drive-In, and a nearby gas station.
All three locations were evacuated and dozens of people had to be decontaminated.
The FBI says the decontamination was a precautionary measure and Houston's fire chief confirmed that the spill was under control.
Authorities say Melder did not immediately reveal why the toxic metal was spilled and they're still working to determine whether or not his alleged actions were intentional.