Sanderson Farms employees headed back to work Tuesday after an evacuation from another ammonia leak. It was just last week when nearly 20 employees were treated for ammonia exposure at two area hospitals.
Local plant management wasn’t available for an on camera interview, but Mike Cockrell, at Sanderson Farms' headquarters in Mississippi, says this latest leak came from the red water chiller, which sits on the roof of the plant.
Sanderson Farms has had two ammonia leaks in the past week. Chief Donoho, with the Bryan Fire department says he's not too concerned.
"It is normal for a facility of this type to have emergency personnel working within this facility. They monitor activities and monitor processes and take care of minor emergencies within their facility," says Donoho.
Equipment detected the leak in time for the employees to get out before being exposed to the chemical during this latest leak. The processing plant has its own emergency personnel on staff, with trained experts who know the ins and outs of the facility.
Donoho adds, "We trust in our partnerships. We trust in them to take care of the facilities and to call 911 when we're needed."
911 wasn't called Monday night. Sanderson Farms officials said they handled the problem internally. That wasn't the case last week, when emergency crews were called. While Sanderson Farms has determined the cause of this latest leak, they're still investigating the cause of last week's leak.
"We've had some meetings with the plant management personnel. We have meetings scheduled later this week and we haven't got into specifics of the particular leaks this week," says Donoho.
No one was taken to the hospital this time. Sanderson Farms was closed down for their morning shift, but re-opened for their second shift at 2 p.m.