(Updated)A north end neighbourhood has some serious questions tonight, for both the Ministry of the Environment, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco. An apparent chemical spill at a facility on Grenfell Street seems to be the cause of extensive damage to several cars and trucks in the residential neighbourhood bordering the plant. But the residents are worried about more than just their property.They want some clear answers about just what kind of substance spilled inside the plant. they say it’s obvious the chemical spill has damaged the paint and glass on their cars but more importantly, they are wondering what it might do to their health.You can see the discoloration, on the side of the plant. A rusty looking, brown residue. And you can see it on the cars, that were parked nearby. Like the one’s at Chad Dal Bello’s Steeltown auto shop: “It seems if you rub it really hard, you might get it off but probably not. It seems like it’s in the paint.”Christina Rogal has already tried to scrub it off: “‘Cause at first I thought it was just dirt until you wash it, and you see that this won’t come off.”It’s just shown up in the last few days, but according to the Ministry of the Environment, the spill inside the ArcelorMittal Dofasco pickling line happened, more than two weeks ago. According to Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan: “Dofasco reported the spill in the early morning hours of September 7th, and the Ministry sent investigators to the plant. They found a burst pipe, leaking ferric chloride residue, a by-product of the pickling line. The pipe was shut down but no air monitoring was conducted outside the plant.”Christina Rogal: “The last couple of weeks you know I’ve been havin’ a cough, same with my daughter, she’s got a cough, scratchy throat.”Sarah Ignacio, local resident: “I’m worried. I think they’re kind of low-balling the concerns. Downplaying it a bit.”Christina Rogal: “If there’s something being spread on vehicles, what is it that we are we breathing in.”Ferric chloride, actually starts out as Hydrochloric Acid, in the pickling process. That substance, when exposed to the air, can become hydrogen chloride — a highly toxic gas that can damage lungs, and possibly result in death. Ferric chloride is far less toxic, but breathing in the dust can irritate the nose, eyes and throat — and prolonged contact can cause skin irritation and burns.The Ministry of the Environment hasn’t confirmed the presence of ferric chloride residue from lab tests, but told us ‘it’s strongly suspected’. Although the Ministry has contacted some residents, Sarah Ignacio says: “Nobody from Dofasco has contacted us yet. But we have their number. So it’s up to us to contact them.”I share their sense of frustration this evening. Despite several phone calls and email asking for an interview, or comment from ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the company so far has been silent.And it was equally difficult getting basic information from the Ministry of the Environment, about the possible affects outside the plant. The local office at one point told me to call Dofasco — because it was ‘their spill’. It took a call directly to the minister’s office, to finally get the information that you just heard, in tonight’s report.Anyone who may have been affected by this incident should contact ArcelorMittal Dofasco directly at 905 548 7200 x2490.