Inspectioneering
News

Liquid Nitrogen Leak at Poultry Plant Kills Six in Georgia

Reuters, January 28, 2021
Reuters
                                                                                                       Photo Credit: Hyosub Shin / HYOSUB.SHIN@AJC.COM

At least six people were killed and 12 others hospitalized on Thursday in liquid nitrogen leak at a northeastern Georgia poultry plant, officials said on Thursday.

Five people died at the Foundation Food Group plant in Gainesville, about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, before they could be taken to a hospital, and one died in the emergency room, the officials said. The accident occurred about 10 a.m., said Zach Brackett, a Hall County Fire Services spokesman.

Officials had previously referred to the plant under the name Prime Pak Foods, which changed Jan. 1.

The injured include four firefighters suffering respiratory ailments. About 130 other people were evacuated from the plant to a nearby church where they were medically evaluated, officials said. Of the 12 people taken to local hospitals, officials said that three remain in critical condition, five are listed in fair condition and three others were treated an released.

Nicholas Ancrum, a spokesman for Foundation Food Group, said that it appears that a nitrogen line burst, but the cause is under investigation.

Last month, two workers at a Golden West Food Group plant in Los Angeles County, lost consciousness and died following an apparent liquid nitrogen leak there, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Nitrogen, typically an inert gas, becomes a liquid when cooled to about 320 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-196 celsius) and is widely use in frozen food processing plants.

According to the University of Delaware, liquid nitrogen can expand rapidly into a gas about 700 times its liquid volume and can rapidly displace oxygen in the air and lungs. It can quickly cause unconsciousness and lethal asphyxiation. The supercooled substance can also cause severe tissue damage.

Foundation Food Group’s Gainesville plant takes raw chicken and processes it into such products as frozen chicken tenders and individual chicken cuts for restaurants and food service operations, Ancrum said.

Officials offered few other details on the accident. Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said that all the bodies have been removed from the plant and authorities are working on identifications and notifying the families.

This is a very tragic incident her today,” Couch said. “All these folks who came to work today didn’t expect something like this, so please keep them in your prayers.”

It will take some time to determine the cause,” he said.


(Reporting by Rich McKay and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Chris Reese and Steve Orlofsky)

Click here to read the full article from Reuters.

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.


Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Talent Solutions

Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

Integripedia

Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

Blog

Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

Downloads

Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

Acronyms

Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.