Leak prompts HazMat warning

SOUTHINGTON — An ammonia leak compelled firefighters to warn residents within 1.5 miles of an Industrial Drive ice manufacturer to stay indoors and keep their win

dows closed and air conditioners off for two hours late Sunday night. 

No injuries were reported and no environmental damage was done. The manufacturer, Diamond Ice, remained shut down as of Monday night as a contractor continued to repair the leak, Southington Deputy Fire Chief Scott DiBattista said.

A reverse 911 warning issued by text set the warning perimeter at 1.25 miles, and a posting on the Southington Fire Department Facebook page listed the perimeter as 1.5 miles.

Residents in Southington, Bristol and Plainville were notified by the emergency notification system and through door to door communication, DiBattista said. 

An area of approximately 1.5 miles in diameter from Diamond Ice includes ESPN’s headquarters, Lake Compounce and portions of West Queen Street, Town Line Road, Red Stone Hill and Routes 10 and 177.

The Fire Department’s warning went out at 9:50 p.m. Sunday and an all-clear was issued at 11:52 p.m.

The incident at the plant at 93 Industrial Drive was reported shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday. Firefighters arriving noticed a strong odor of ammonia and, using a thermal imaging camera, saw a plume venting from the roof area, DiBattista said.

“It was venting through a roof vent as it was designed to do but we are unable to determine the amount of product that vented out. We probably won’t know that for quite a while,” DiBattista said Monday.

“All the necessary repairs will have to be made to secure the system and when they refill the tank, we can determine how much leaked out of it.”

Diamond Ice manufactures block, cubed and packaged ice. The factory has around-the-clock capacity to produce more than 100,000 pounds of ice daily, according to the company’s website.

Anhydrous ammonia “is a toxic gas or liquid that, when concentrated, is corrosive to tissues upon contact. Exposure to ammonia in sufficient quantities can be fatal,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used in manufacturing and refrigeration.

Household ammonia is much less concentrated, according to CDC.

nsambides@record-journal.com203-317-2279Twitter: @JrSambides

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