Crews working to clean up major ammonia leak in Edgewood

ATLANTA — Remediation crews are continuing to work after a major ammonia leak at a warehouse in the Edgewood area Monday.

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The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. at the building that used to be a bakery on Lemon Lane. Atlanta Fire Rescue officials said the business has moved out of the building and crews were working to remove old ammonia tanks when a valve cracked, leaking 40,000 pounds of the caustic liquid. The eight workers inside were able to evacuate without injuries.

“The rain actually helped us,” an Atlanta Fire spokesperson said. “The weather actually kept the plume down inside of the building.”

Officials said firefighters sprayed water on the building until they were able to get inside and turn the valve off.

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People who live nearby got an emergency alert asking them to shelter in place immediately and stay outdoors after several people called about a strong odor in the area. The order was lifted around 4:30 p.m.

“I was heading out and I saw like a huge spout like literally going over the pie factory,” neighbor Edward Kane recalled to Channel 2′s Michele Newell.

“I did smell a little something funky when I went upstairs,” neighbor Craig Burns said.

Burns says he and his neighbors live 50 feet away from the factory.

“At no point no one in the neighborhood was in any type of danger Ammonia is not a dangerous gas unless it’s a lot,” said Battalion Chief Gary Robb.

Ammonia is widely used as a refrigerant gas. Schwan’s bills itself as a frozen grocery delivery company.

Ammonia can seriously irritate the respiratory tract and cause pulmonary edema, a potentially fatal accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Neighbors add this isn’t the first gas leak in the area. One man told Newell that out of the five years he’s lived in the area, there have been three gas leaks.

It’s unclear when the leak may be completely removed.