Ammonia Leak Forces Plant Evacuation

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 08:06 AM gHale

Workers of south Wichita’s Farmland Foods plant evacuated Saturday after a hazardous gas leak, Sedgwick County Dispatch said.

One man went to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in critical condition following exposure, a dispatcher said. The leak, involving ammonia, was reported at 2:42 p.m. Saturday, another dispatcher said.

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Dozens of people were working at the time, according to 911 emergency traffic. Fire crews ventilated the structure so chemical fumes could escape.

Tammy Snow with the Wichita, KN, Fire Department said the leak was in the ammonia line in the attic area.

Workers at the facility self-evacuated the building after attempting to turn the ammonia off. But the fumes were overwhelming the workers so they had to evacuate. Emergency crews arrived and were able to turn off the valve, officials said.

Sedgwick County Dispatch said an employee with Farmland Foods called to report the leak. One person went to the hospital, while two others had minor injuries but refused to be treated.

“It will be a little bit of an irritant because of the smell,” Snow said. “You’re going to smell ammonia but at this particular time there aren’t enough parts per million to be harmful to anyone.”

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