Erin Smith Staff writer
June 17, 2014
TAR HEEL — Bladen County Emergency Management officials and hazardous materials teams are working to determine the cause of an ammonia leak at the Smithfield Foods facility in Tar Heel this afternoon.
“Smithfield Foods is working with local emergency officials to determine the cause of an apparent ammonia leak today at the company’s Tar Heel facility. Our main concern is for the safety of our employees and the community, and all employees have been evacuated,” said Director of Corporate Communications for Smithfield Foods Kathleen Kirkham in an email.
According to WWAY-TV3, “witnesses claimed there was a plume of smoke and employees began choking.”
Currently, N.C. 87 is closed near the facility and the N.C. Department of Transportation advises drivers to use either Chickenfoot Road or N.C. 20 as detours.
Kirkham added, “We are also working with local authorities to secure the facility. We will have more details as information is made available.”