The leak at the plant (which specializes in producing hot dogs, hams, and sausage) was reportedly detected by the Wichita, Kansas facility’s Interior Safety Group. First responders were called to the scene to handle the incident and approximately 100 employees were evacuated.
According to Tammy Snow, deputy fire chief, Farmland staff attempted to turn off the ammonia to quell the leak but were overcome by the fumes. Of the three employees reportedly injured by the leak, one was taken to a nearby hospital and the other two were treated at the scene.
Hazmat (hazardous materials and items) teams from Wichita and neighboring Sedwick County responded to the call. According to emergency crews, the leak was quickly halted, and windy conditions helped dissipate the ammonia in the air.
Snow said the ammonia accumulated in the plant’s attic area. Emergency crews opened up hatches and ventilated to dissipate the fumes.
Streets and roads near the plant were closed. Additionally, workers will not be allowed to re-enter until hazmat teams are satisfied conditions are safe for employees.
Representatives at Farmland Foods, a division of Smithfield, could not be reached for comment. FoodProductionDaily will provide additional information as soon as updates are available.