One person sent to hospital after plant ammonia leak

Published: Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:30 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:31 AM CDT
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JASPER, TX (KTRE) - An ammonia leak at a plant in Jasper sent one person to the hospital Monday afternoon.

Emergency management officials said a relief valve at the Crystal Clear Ice Plant located in the 400 block of Fletcher Street vented ammonia into the atmosphere around 2 p.m.

Billy Smith, Program Manager, for Jasper County Emergency Management said the valve was set at a certain pressure when it began to leak.

The county emergency management office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are investigating to determine the exact cause of the leak.  "As you know, ammonia is a pretty strong chemical," explained Smith.

Smith said the fumes circulated in the air for approximately 20 minutes.

According to Smith no evacuations were ordered because the direction of the winds kept the fumes under control. However, one person from another plant next door was taken to the hospital for treatment.  "He was taken to Christus Jasper Memorial Hospital for inhalation problems," said Smith.

Only two workers were inside the crystal ice making plant at the time of the leak, they are said to be unharmed.

The Jasper Fire and Hazmat Department, Special Operations Unit, Jasper Police, TCEQ, and Emergency Management were on the scene.  An 'all clear' was given later Monday evening.

Smith said business at the plant should resume at the plant Tuesday.

TCEQ and emergency management personnel are still investigating.

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