Airgas Ammonia Leak Controlled

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 @ 12:12 PM gHale

An ammonia leak released December 22 at a Hopewell, VA, Airgas facility triggering a response from the Hopewell Bureau of Fire and the Crater Regional HazMat Team.

The incident started about 6:20 p.m., when an open valve at Airgas got stuck during routine maintenance work, said Hopewell Fire Chief Donald Hunter and Airgas Communications Director Sarah Boxler.

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When maintenance workers were unable to close the valve on their own, they evacuated the building and notified the city of the situation.

The Hopewell Bureau of Fire and the Crater Regional HazMat Team worked with Airgas to resolve the issue.

As a precaution, South Hopewell Street and Industrial Street, which border the Airgas site, ended up closed to traffic.

Hunter said the majority of the gas ended up contained inside the building, with a small amount escaping onto the Airgas site. The farthest the vapors appear to have traveled was the adjoining Praxair lot, where responders detected “very low” readings of ammonia.

There were no injuries in the incident.

Hunter said firefighters resolved the leak by 7:30 p.m. The city of Hopewell issued an advisory just before 6 a.m. Friday stating the hazmat situation had been “terminated” and South Hopewell and Industrial streets had been reopened.

Airgas said an investigation into the release is underway.



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