A Prosser fruit and vegetable processor
reported an ammonia leak over the weekend that prompted the temporary closure
of a nearby elementary school.
Milne Fruit Products detected the leak at 6:45 a.m. April 7 in one of the plant’s tank rooms. A news release from the company said staff immediately sealed the room to contain the gas.
Milne officials said the incident was “fully resolved” by 8 p.m. April 7.
Prosser School District officials decided that night to close Keene-Riverview Elementary School the following day. The school is across the street from the Milne plant.
The elementary students went to school across town at Housel Middle School on April 8.
“Milne’s primary concern remains the
public’s safety, the safety of any children in the area, as well as the safety
of our own employees,” said Michael Sorenson, president and general manager, in
a news release. “We immediately contacted federal and state agencies as
well as local fire, police and school officials who later in the day wisely
decided to move students from Keene-Riverview to Housel Middle School on Monday
out of an abundance of caution.”
Milne, located at 804 Bennett Ave., activated its emergency action
plan and notified appropriate federal and state agencies as well as area fire,
police and school officials about the incident.
Company officials said there was no
immediate release to the atmosphere until company and fire officials properly
ventilated the storage facility later in the day.
“It’s unfortunate that this impacted students and teachers but it
was in the best interest of everyone concerned,” Sorenson said. “Milne
strives to operate the plant safely and to remain good stewards of our
environment through our ongoing preventative maintenance, safety and
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!