Nitrogen Gas Leak at a Gainesville Poultry Plant Killed Six Workers, Injured 12
GAINESVILLE; GA - According to a news story on BBC.com, a nitrogen gas leak at a Gainesville poultry plant killed six workers. The Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, called the incident a "tragedy" in his official statement.*
Police and fire crews were called to the Prime-Pak Foods Inc. food packing plant. The 911 call stated that there was a chemical leak at the plant that had killed several workers and sent many more workers to a local area hospital in Gainesville, Georgia.
Dozens of workers were evacuated after it was discovered there was a chemical leak. Law enforcement officials stated that 12 workers so far had been hospitalized after Thursday's nitrogen leak at the Foundation Food Group plant in Gainesville, Georiga. A lot of the firefighters who responded to the scened were among the people who required medical treatment.
Georgia is one of the leading poultry-producing states in the country, and Gainesville is at the center of the poultry industry. Thousands of workers are employed at processing plants in the city.
Hall County Fire Department Chief, Zach Brackett, stated that emergency services were responded to the scene at around 10:12. The call stated that several workers had sustained severe burn injuries. About 130 people were evacuated from the plant and gathered at a local church for medical evaluation after the accident.
Tragically, five people were killed at the gas leak scene, and the other victim passed away while en route to the hospital.
A spokeswoman for Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Beth Downs, reported that three of the five workers taken to the hospital were in a critical medical condition. Many of the injured, including three fire officials, who complained of breathing problems, were eventually discharged. The victims included supervisory, maintenance, and management team members.
According to a Foundation Food Group representative, the preliminary investigation found that a nitrogen line had ruptured inside the plant. Nitrogen is frequently used in refrigeration systems and is not detectable by smell. Breathing in the gas is deadly because nitrogen displaces oxygen in the lungs leading to asphyxiation.
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