More than 120 people were sickened Monday in the U.S. state of Alabama after an ammonia leak was discovered in a refrigeration facility.
The leak took place Monday morning at the Millard Refrigerated Services plant in Theodore, Mobile County, south Alabama. Between 400 gallons and 800 gallons of ammonia leaked at the site, Shaun Hicks of the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department was quoted by local reports as saying.
Of the over 120 sickened, most reported minor breathing problems, scratchy throats or dizziness, Hicks said. They were treated at local hospitals. Hospital officials at Mobile say 29 have been admitted, including four in intensive care.
The sickened include workers in the Millard facility and BP's oil spill cleanup crew on the Alabama coast. The facility uses ammonia in the refrigeration process. The complex is located near an area where BP PLC workers have been helping with the cleanup from the Gulf oil spill.
People were also forced to hide inside their homes and at a school after the leak was reported. Emergency officials made telephone calls to alert local residents to remain inside and turn off conditioners.
After the leak was stopped, residents were told it was again safe to go outside. It was unclear what caused the leak at this point.