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Ammonia leak closes meat factory

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UK: Scottish firefighters this morning isolated two ammonia leaks at a factory in South Ayrshire.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews were sent to the Hall’s of Scotland food processing facility in Glenburn Road, Prestwick, in response to an alarm at 4.40am this morning.

Two appliances from Ayr Community Fire Station reached the scene within approximately seven minutes and a specialist environmental protection unit was mobilised.

The nightshift was evacuated and several businesses in the area were prevented from opening.

Despite closing one valve, firefighters monitoring the air quality found that ammonia levels remained high. On re-entering the building, firefighters found and isolated a further leak.

No casualties have been reported as having resulted from the incident.

Station manager Lawson Elliot, the incident commander, said: “An evacuation of the factory was safely carried out and all members of the nightshift staff were accounted for.

“The site manager briefed us on its contents and we have been working closely with a Glasgow Scientific Services advisor to conduct atmospheric monitoring.

“I committed firefighters in gas-tight suits to locate the leak. They closed-off a valve thought to be its source but continued monitoring showed ammonia levels inside the building remained high.

“Our team re-entered the premises and they successfully traced and isolated a further leak, which led to ammonia levels decreasing.

“Firefighters used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear residual ammonia and the scientific advisor will remain in attendance to monitor ammonia levels in the site.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service provided advice to businesses in the immediate vicinity of the factory and, as a precautionary measure, several were prevented from opening.

Employees were able to return to all the affected premises shortly before noon.

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