Trident Seafoods on Newport’s Bayfront reported an ammonia line failure in one of their surge systems Tuesday, causing an ammonia gas leak about mid-building at around 12 noon. Ammonia is a coolant gas used in the processing and packaging of fish. If breathed, it is a caustic lung irritant.
Newport Assistant Fire Chief Rob Murphy said the Trident Seafoods building was practically empty at the time since the plant was shut down, reportedly the first time in four months. Murphy said there were no reports of any injuries at the plant although someone on the Bayfront later complained of a tight chest and some difficulty breathing. At the time the symptoms set in, he had traveled several miles up the Bay Road from the plant.
Murphy says ammonia is toxic to human lungs but added that the doesn’t believe that the amount of ammonia gas leaked and the density of the ammonia gas in the air outside the plant would cause permanent damage to anyone’s lungs. But there were some people who were seen coughing in the area at the time of the leak. But now levels are way down, according to Murphy.
Murphy says all the proper air quality and health agencies have been notified in Salem and locally. Trident workers say they’re in the process of fixing the leak.Share on Facebook