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Ammonia leak at Florence ice factory prompts evacuation of nearby apartments

A Florence fire engine blocks off entrance to Harrell Street because of a possible ammonia leak at area business.
A Florence fire engine blocks off entrance to Harrell Street because of a possible ammonia leak at area business.

Florence Police and Fire Departments Saturday evening evacuated homes around the Harrell and Marion Street intersection because of an ammonia leak.

The fire department got a call around 5:30 p.m. from a nearby resident complaining of the strong smell of ammonia, said emergency management spokesman Levi James.

Because of the potential danger of ammonia gas, the area near the Reddy Ice production facility was cordoned off and some 25 residents of a nearby apartment complex were evacuated, James said.

Florence Fire Chief Randall Osterman said the plan was to secure the area until a hazardous materials response team and a representative of the company could respond and deal with the leak.

By 7:45 p.m. the strong ammonia odor was gone, James said. Emergency management personnel donned hazmat suits to enter the factory and perform an inspection.

No injuries were reported, James said.

Reddy Ice produces a "variety of ice products" at the plant.

The Florence Morning News contributed to this report.

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