A busted pipe seal at a Turlock factory caused an ammonia leak that forced neighbors to stay indoors Sunday morning.
No injuries or illnesses were reported from the leak.
The leak at Americold Logistics at 660 5th St. was first noticed a little after 6 a.m. Sunday by an employee at the nearby Foster Farms plant. The employee reported seeing a vapor cloud near the Americold facility.
The Turlock Fire Department reported that a blown pump seal in the piping allowed for approximately 100 pounds of ammonia to leak out. The concentration of ammonia was so strong at the source of the leak that officials couldn’t reach it. Factory representatives closed a remote valve to isolate the main storage tank, cutting off the main flow of ammonia, the fire department reported.
The leak had slowed considerably about 45 minutes after the main valve was switched off. Hazardous materials experts were brought in and donned fully-encapsulated suits to approach the leak and secure the valve.
The fire department said the leaked ammonia evaporated into the air and that none entered any storm or sewer drains.
Emergency personnel used the reverse 911 system to send an alert to about 100 area residents to stay inside and close all doors and windows.
Traffic was temporarily diverted around the factory.
The incident was completely stabilized in about three hours.
Americold Logistics uses bulk ammonia as a refrigerant.
Agencies handling the incident included the Turlock fire and police departments, Stanislaus County haz-mat and environmental resources departments, American Medical Response and representatives from Turlock’s Water Quality Control plant, Americold and Foster Farms.