Ammonia leak causes several Ft. Pierce residents to evacuate

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - Dozens of people are just being allowed back into their homes after an ammonia leak at a Fort Pierce recycling plant forced them to evacuate.

The evacuation lasted about four hours Wednesday. It was just after 11 a.m. when crews were called out to Atlantic Coast Recycling Center.

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a powerful odor.

A one ton refrigerated trailer was getting picked up from the facility, and it appears during the transfer, a tank on that trailer was punctured and a plume of ammonia escaped.

Three people were taken to the hospital for treatment. One employee had to be decontaminated after being exposed. They were treated with an agent that neutralizes the ammonia, and their injuries were not life threatening.

Crews decided the best thing to do was let the tank empty itself and evaporate into the air. "The longer we give it, the better of we are. Eventually, it will dissipate to where it is not a concern, a health concern," said Deputy Chief Frank Amandro with Ft. Pierce Police.

On its Web site, Atlantic Coast Recycling says it was founded in 1977 and collects and processes scrap metal.

No one has responded to our calls or e-mails for comment.

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