West Miami-Dade business evacuated after ammonia leak

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of employees were evacuated from a West Miami-Dade business, Monday night, after an ammonia leak was detected.

Miami-Dade Police, Fire Rescue and Hazardous Material units responded to Crystal Valley Specialty Produce, at 2950 N.W. 74th Ave., after employees detected an ammonia leak. About 1,000 gallons of ammonia leaked out at the business, but no one was seriously hurt.

“Ammonia is a toxic industrial chemical … but in large amounts, so it would have to be above 15,000; 20,000 gallons to actually be a concern,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Hazardous Materials Lt. Alvaro Tonanez said.

Twenty Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units and six Hazardous Material units responded to the business and ventilated the building.

An employee at the store, Elai Rodes, said something broke, then they smelt the ammonia.

“Something broke, a tube, a pipe, something like that, and we smelled the smell. They took us out of the warehouse, and everybody is OK,” Rodes said through a translator.

Although ammonia can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and mouth, this leak was small enough that it didn’t cause any major issues. Ninety-three people were assessed by first responders, with one being transported to a local hospital for further treatment.

Employees of the business said the responders helped get the situation under control relatively quickly. “Very strong, very strong, but they worked fast, and they evacuated the place very quickly,” Claudio, an employee, said through a translator.

Many of the employees got out quickly because the ammonia caused irritation to their throats and eyes. Responders were then able to focus on ventilation.

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