Ammonia leak at North Carolina plant kills 1, injures 3

Ammonia leak at North Carolina plant kills 1, injures 3

June 20th, 2009 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

LUMBER BRIDGE, N.C. - An ammonia leak Saturday at a poultry processing plant in North Carolina killed one worker and injured at least three others, authorities said.

Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said the leak occurred about 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mountaire Farms plant in Robeson County in southern-central North Carolina, about 16 miles south of Fayetteville.

Sealey identified the worker who died as Clifton Swain of Fayetteville at a mid-afternoon briefing. Sealey did not have additional details about Swain. It was not immediately clear how he died or what caused the leak.

County Emergency Management Director Charles Britt told The Fayetteville Observer that the leak has been contained.

Sealey said three injured workers, who were not identified, were taken to hospitals.

However, Southeastern Regional Medical Center and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center each said they treated two men injured at the plant.

Amanda Crabtree of Southeastern Regional in Lumberton said her facility treated two men from Mountaire. She did not provide further details.

A spokeswoman for Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville said a man brought there from the plant was transferred to another hospital. She said another man was treated and sent home.

Authorities have said that 30 to 40 people were at the plant when the leak occurred. Sealey said all workers have been accounted for at the plant, which employs 2,500 people.

A call to Mountaire Farms was not immediately returned Saturday. However, the company issued a statement expressing condolences for the victims and promising to cooperate with authorities.

Sealey said the State Bureau of Investigation along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were contacted after the accident.