Ammonia leak forces evacuation of High Liner Foods facility in New Hampshire

Published on
September 1, 2016

High Liner Foods’ seafood processing facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire had to be evacuated on Monday, 29 August after an ammonia leak was reported by an employee.

The employee working at the plant’s batter-cooling machine discovered the leak at 9:40 p.m. and alerted authorities, then helped the 80 other workers at the facility evacuate while first responders located the source of the leak, according to Seacoast Online.

Wearing full protective gear and breathing apparatus, the first responders were able to stop the leak, which was caused by a small hole in an industrial refrigerant line that supplies ammonia to the batter-chilling machine.

Two employees were treated at the scene for “minor irritation” caused by exposure to the leak. The building was then ventilated and refrigeration experts examined and repaired the line, with the hazard declared under control by 11:30 p.m. the article reported.

Anhydrous ammonia can be toxic and flammable. In March, an employee died from ammonia inhalation at Stavis Seafoods’ cold storage warehouse in Boston.

An ammonia leak also caused the evacuation of Pier Fish in New Bedford, Massachussets in 2015 and was responsible for the deaths of six workers at a seafood processing plant in Malaysia in 2009.

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