Emergency situation ‘neutralized’ in Claresholm following ammonia leak

A small ammonia leak was reported at #1 Alberta Road on Aug. 22, 2019.
A small ammonia leak was reported at #1 Alberta Road on Aug. 22, 2019. Courtesy: Leah Blake

An Alberta Emergency Alert was issued early Thursday afternoon, warning residents of an ammonia leak at a business in Claresholm. A small ammonia leak was reported at #1 Alberta Road, the alert stated. That’s where El Molino Foods is located.

Shortly after 2 p.m., the town declared a state of local emergency in order to be prepared for potential evacuation, according to the alert. The local state of emergency was lifted as of 6:45 p.m.

At 6:49 p.m., the Alberta Emergency Alert was lifted. The update stated the “threat has passed” and the “emergency situation has ended.”

In a 7 p.m. update on its website, the Town of Claresholm stated “the emergency situation has been neutralized by the Lethbridge Fire Department’s Hazmat Team and the Claresholm Fire Department.”

In the update, fire chief Sean Kelly said crews were able to contain the ammonia leak without incident. He said barricades would remain in place for the next hour but “the threat has passed and there is no further concern for public safety.”

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Cody Coates/Global News
Cody Coates/Global News Cody Coates/Global News

The town said a 911 call was made from a local business at 12:45 p.m. regarding the leak.

Kelly said the leak was detected by technicians earlier Thursday. The leak was isolated and no injuries were reported, Kelly said.

Kelly said the state of emergency was strictly precautionary, as the leak was reportedly small and contained.

Hazmat crews from Lethbridge were sent to the scene to deal with the leak, he said, and air monitoring was taking place.

READ MORE: Firefighters respond to ammonia leak at northeast Edmonton storage facility

El Molino Foods specializes in importing and distributing Mexican food, according to its website.

For up-to-the-minute information on the situation, follow Alberta Emergency Alert’s social media channels.

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Claresholm is located about 80 kilometres northwest of Lethbridge.