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Md. Food Plant Evacuated After Chemical Leak

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CHEVERLY, Md. (AP) — Prince George’s County Police say a food processing plant in Cheverly has been evacuated due to an ammonia leak.

Fire department spokesman Mark Brady said in a release that emergency crews responded to the Smithfield Packing Company about 12:15 a.m. Tuesday. He says officials discovered that a pipe connected to a 100-gallon container of anhydrous ammonia had developed a leak.

The caustic chemical has a sharp, suffocating odor and exposure to high levels of it can cause death from a swollen throat or chemical burns to the lungs.

Brady says about 100 employees of the company were forced to leave the building.

Hazmat crews cleared the scene about 4:30 a.m. No injuries were reported.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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