ATLANTA (AP) – Refrigeration company firefighters were called to a chicken processing plant in northeastern Georgia, where six workers were killed in a liquid nitrogen leak in January.
The Foundation’s Food Group plant in Gainesville has been in constant turmoil since the Hall County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of an autopsy on Friday. It turned out that all of them died “from suffocation due to exposure to liquid nitrogen.”
Hall firefighters said they were called to their factory at around 4pm on Thursday night in connection with an ammonia leak that could have occurred at 9am. Around 30
“Hall County firefighters responded to the scene, assessed the scene, and found no danger, including ammonia,” wrote department chief Ach Ak Brackett.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The company issued a statement but did not answer specific questions.
“After the review of the food facility prepared by a professional refrigeration company by the Fund’s food team today, no operating level of ammonia was found, and the plant was cleared of possible risks for the company’s employees,” the statement said.
The US Chemical Safety Council said the Foundation Food recently installed a liquid nitrogen cooling system on some of its lines, which released a choking gas cloud on January 28. Nine other workers were taken to hospital and later released, including one who was hospitalized for weeks.
The company reopened the plant weeks later. It takes chicken slaughtered elsewhere, prepares items such as patties ug nuggets for food service activities.
The Chemical Safety Council says the liquid nitrogen system was installed to replace an older refrigeration system that used ammonia. It is unclear whether Thursday’s concerns focused on the same production line where the January release took place or elsewhere at the plant.
Eric Lucero, a spokesman for the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, said the workplace safety agency had “limited information” but was “actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident”. The Chemical Safety Council did not answer questions.
No agency has yet released the results of its January investigation into liquefied nitrogen emissions.
The families of a number of dead workers have filed lawsuits against a German company that produces the liquid nitrogen system, Messer Group և Messer, who visited the plant in the days before the leak to service the system. These lawsuits allege that Messer and the employee were guilty of improperly inspecting, testing, repairing, or shutting down the system prior to the release of liquid nitrogen.
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