Hazmat Crews Stop Chemical Leak

Monday, July 27, 2015 @ 03:07 PM gHale

An ammonia leak at the Tyson Foods plant resulted in a call for hazmat crews and the Columbia, SC, Fire Department at 3.30 a.m. Friday morning.

At one point people could see the ammonia that was leaking, which is lighter than air, said Brick Lewis with Columbia Fire.

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Employees ended up evacuated and no one suffered an injury.

Columbia Fire assisted and helped to secure the leak shortly after 7 a.m.

Evacuation orders ended up rescinded and employees were able to re-enter the plant just after 7 a.m.

Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract, according to the New York Department of Health. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation. Ammonia’s odor provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one’s prolonged exposure at low concentrations.