Ammonia scare evacuates Seattle Darigold plant

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by ROBERTA ROMERO / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 23 at 12:20 PM

A possible ammonia leak inside a factory evacuated part of South Seattle Monday.

Around 7:30 a.m. Darigold employees inside the plant near 4000 Rainier Avenue South heard a loud bang. They immediately smelled ammonia, and started evacuating.

"We are trained on how to proceed if something like this happens," said employee John Lund, "We all got out safely."
 
Seattle Fire Department closed a two-block area surrounding the plant as a precaution.

"We want to make sure everyone is safe, and we're taking no chances," said Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore. "Right now Haz Mat teams are measuring the amount of ammonia released inside the building, then we will determine how to best disperse it."

Darlene Durango had a bag packed just in case she had to leave her home quickly. She and her 4 year old daughter live right across the street from the Darigold plant.

"All I know is there is some sort of chemical leak and people are being asked to leave," said Durango. "I'm downwind, so I'm safe so far."

Ammonia is a toxic chemical that, if breathed in, can cause burns to the throat and lungs, as well as irritate eyes among other symptoms.

"I heard one employee inside the building may have had slight symptoms, but she's okay," said Darigold employee John Lund. The Seattle Fire Department reported no injuries.
 
Seattle Fire Department said huge fans will be used to disperse the ammonia cloud inside the Darigold plant. They expected it to take several hours before it is safe.

Traffic was impacted on Rainier Avenue South. Hundreds of morning commuters were diverted off that main arterial and forced to take side roads to get around.

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