At least 6 dead, 9 hospitalized in Georgia after liquid nitrogen leak at plant

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The cause is under investigation.Jan. 28, 2021, 11:09 PM +04By Tim Fitzsimons

A liquid nitrogen leak killed at least six people and left nine others hospitalized, with three people currently in critical condition, according to emergency authorities in Gainesville, Georgia.

Zachary Brackett, a spokesperson for the Hall County Fire Service, said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that authorities responded to a report of burns after 10 a.m. at Prime-Pak Foods, Inc., and within 10 minutes updated the mission to hazardous materials response because of a large number of evacuated employees “along with multiple victims” who were ” experiencing medical emergencies around the facility.”

Roads are shut down in Gainesville, Ga., on Jan. 28, 2021, following a hazmat incident.
Roads are shut down in Gainesville, Ga., on Jan. 28, 2021, following a hazmat incident.WXIA

Those attending the scene to check it out and clear it up, are to wear protective equipment like gas masks and a hazmat suit as a preventative effort to ensure they do not succumb to chemical-related injuries.

There were five fatalities at the facility. Another person died after being transported to the hospital.

Brackett said there are no details yet about the injuries caused by the liquid nitrogen leak.

“No explosion has occurred,” he said, correcting earlier news reports.

Brackett said the leak had an “unknown cause” which will remain under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff, the Georgia State Fire Marshall and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

130 staff were transported to a church for evaluation by medical personnel; one person was later taken to the hospital.

Four firefighters were hospitalized for evaluation of “respiratory complaints” and at least five staff members were transported to the Northeast Georgia Medical center.

Sean Couch, public relations director of the Northeast Georgia Health System, said one person died in the emergency department. Five are there in fair condition. Three others were admitted in critical condition to the critical care unit.

One more person was en route to the hospital as of 1 p.m. and authorities promised an update on their injuries, and those of any others, at later news conferences.

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