Ammonia Leak Kills One Worker

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 01:03 PM gHale

One worker died in an ammonia leak at a seafood warehouse in the Seaport District in south Boston, officials said.

The man was inside the warehouse but emergency responders were unable to reach him initially because of the strong fumes when they arrived at Stavis Seafoods Warehouse after receiving reports of a leak about 6 p.m. Wednesday, fire officials said.

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“They were pushed back by the product, the ammonia,” said Boston Fire Chief of Operations John Walsh.

The leak ended up reported near the end of a work shift when employees began noticing a strong odor and saw a leak coming from the plant.

“It’s a very large ammonia leak inside of a cold storage facility used for seafood processing,” said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

Fire officials said it was coming from a 5,400-pound tank, but they didn’t know how much ammonia had escaped before workers shut off the main valve. A HazMat team wearing protective suits stopped the leak within hours.

Ammonia ends up used as a refrigerant.

Richard Stavis, chief executive of Stavis Seafoods, said company officials remain devastated to learn a warehouse employee had died and that they would work with authorities on their investigation.

“We are thankful that four employees who were in the building at the time were able to quickly and safely evacuate,” he said.

Walsh said the public wasn’t in danger. But as a precaution, nearby streets were closed off and fire officials advisied business people and residents to shelter in place or stay away from the area.

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