CA Winery Ammonia Leak Hurts Firefighter

Monday, May 15, 2017 @ 06:05 PM gHale

An ammonia leak in Fresno, CA, at a winery prompted a response from Fresno Fire’s HazMat crew.

The call regarding the gaseous release came in just before 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, at the E and J Gallo Winery in Southeast Fresno.

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“There are several, quite a number of large tanks of product that they have here that require refrigeration,” said Deputy Chief Richard Cabral. “As we understand it there were maintenance workers, working on a liquid ammonia line.

“That ammonia line is used to refrigerate the product they have here at Gallo. They believed that the line was empty; they had done an evacuation type of procedure. Apparently, there was still ammonia in that line and it was pressurized.”

Fresno Fire personnel went in and temporarily patched the line, later confirming the leak had been mitigated.

“We have a report of a very small injury to a firefighter who was in on making the repair. Ammonia liquid is very caustic, and it’s also a cryogenic. So, we understand that a very small amount was on his hand.”

Officials consider the injury minor.

As first responders worked inside the facility, 140 workers evacuated the building and waited outside.

Officials add that there was no danger to the public, but those within the area closed off may have been at risk at the time of the leak.

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