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Firefighters rushed onto the scene early on July 29 as a mechanical failure triggered an ammonia outbreak at the Eakin fruit warehouse in Union Gap, Wash.
The ammonia leak was found in the compression room by one employee who entered the building a few minutes before 6 a.m., according to the Yakima Herald-Republic . She was subsequently taken to the hospital for observation as a precautionary measure, but officials said she was not injured. No other employees were in the building at the time of the leak.
In response to the events, local roads were briefly shut down as fire crews arrived on the scene to assess the situation. They were able to contain the ammonia and prevent potential harm.
Ammonia is a colorless gas that can be found in smelling salts, fertilizers and household and industrial cleaners. Its strong odor is well-known given its many applications.
Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, lungs and throat and can result in death if the levels are extremely high. A proper toxic gas detector can ensure that ammonia concentrations do not approach lethal levels.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection.