4 people taken to hospital as acid spill shuts down chicken plant

CANTON, Ga. — Roadways around a Canton chicken processing plant after back open after an acid spill.

NewsChopper 2 flew over the scene at the Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant Friday and showed images of a FedEx truck leaking what was identified as organic peroxide type F.

[PHOTOS: Acid spill at chicken plant shuts down area roads]

The truck was making a delivery of six 300-gallon containers of the bleaching agent to the plant on Univeter Road.

WATCH LIVE: Acid spill shuts down I-575

WATCH LIVE: An acid spill at the Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant in Canton has shutdown I-575 and area roads. The building has also be evacuated. 2wsb.tv/2QMLcEt

Posted by WSB-TV on Friday, September 21, 2018

Baker told Channel 2's Richard Elliot that as soon the rig pulled into the front gate, employees realized just how serious that leak was.

“They knew immediately they had to evacuate almost 300 employees that were here. That was done quickly. They shut down Univeter Road. They decided we needed to shut down 575, which was done for about an hour. We have since opened up 575,” said Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

The spill put a dent in the Friday afternoon commute, backing up traffic for miles in the area.

“It’s pretty bad. Pretty bad timing,” Baker said.

Channel 2 Action News viewers first learned of this breaking news through a push alert on the Channel 2 Action News app. [DOWNLOAD HERE]

Elliot learned that two employees at Pilgrim’s Pride complained of breathing issues and were transported to an area hospital.

But then, deputies learned that FedEx truck also leaked that organic peroxide up Highway 5, past a construction site and two workers there were also transported to an area hospital with breathing issues.

Hazmat crews continue to work the scene, but the Sheriff’s Office says it could be hours before they get into the tractor-trailer, contain the leak and see if any of the other containers are leaking, too.

“Apparently this is a bad substance and it will take quite a bit to get it removed and cleaned from that truck,” Baker said.

Univeter Road reopened just before 7:30 p.m.