Ammonia vapor leaks investigated

ATTICA – Attica and Bloomville rescue crews responded to an anhydrous ammonia vapor leak near Attica early Friday morning. No one was taken to a hospital as a result of the leak.

According to a Seneca County Sheriff’s Office report, a person reported a strong smell of ammonia at 4:18 a.m. A second call about the incident was received at 4:26 a.m., and a person reported at 4:36 a.m. a house was consumed with ammonia.

Lonnie Jaynes, assistant chief of Attica-Venice-Reed Fire District, said the leak occurred at Sunrise Cooperative. The facility is at 3568 S. SR 4, north of the village limits.

The company was draining large tanks the substance is stored in for maintenance, Jaynes said.

“It just was too much and overfilled the water,” he said.

Jaynes said crews could see a white plume in the sky from about a block and a half away as they were approaching the scene. By the time they were able to shut down the valves and the vapor had dissipated, the vapor could be detected in the air in the south end of the village, he said.

Jaynes said the vapor had started to dissipate before crews had to do evacuations. Officials believed they had the leak contained at 5 a.m., about 45 minutes after the initial report.

Residents in the south end of the village were instructed to shut their windows, and some were invited to stay inside.

There were two ambulance runs for people affected by the leak, but no one was taken to a hospital.

Jaynes said he was anticipating a large number of ambulance calls, and Bloomville EMS stood by at Attica’s station. He said he was surprised officials did not have more issues with medical calls because of the odor’s intensity.

“(It) doesn’t take very much to amplify that,” he said.

Officials were in contact with Seneca County’s health department and emergency management agency, Jaynes said.