Ammonia leak sends one to Webster City hospital

Broken pipe at egg plant causes problem

EAGLE GROVE — One person was taken to a hospital following a major ammonia leak at an egg-processing facility in Wright County Friday morning.

About 4,000 pounds of ammonia were released after a pipe in a refrigeration system was broken by a skid loader at Daybreak Foods, according to Fort Dodge Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter. He called that a ”very large release of ammonia.”

The injured person was taken to Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City. The person’s name and condition weren’t available Friday evening.

Ammonia is a very corrosive gas that burns the eyes, respiratory system and skin, according to Hergenreter.

A cloud of ammonia was visible after the pipe was broken. A processing building at the plant was quickly evacuated.

The regional hazardous materials team operated by the Fort Dodge Fire Department was called to the scene on Buchanan Avenue at 10:15 a.m.

Ammonia was still leaking from the pipe when the hazardous materials team arrived. Firefighters wearing chemical protective suits closed valves to stop the leak.

”We were able to get in very quickly and shut the valves down,” Hergenreter said.

He said plant employees gave the hazardous materials team good advice.

”We had great cooperation with the facility’s staff and Eagle Grove Fire Department,” he said.

Hazardous materials team members also shut down the refrigeration equipment. They found very high levels of ammonia in the processing building and ventilated it.

The hazardous materials team was on the scene for about two hours. The Eagle Grove Fire Department, Eagle Grove Emergency Medical Service and Wright County sheriff’s deputies also responded.