ATWATER -- Residents called local public safety officials about the overwhelming smell of ammonia Friday night, which was later determined to be coming from the Dole packing plant in Winton.
"When I opened the door I was hit by a real strong smell of ammonia," said Melissa Radford, one of the Atwater residents who live in close proximity to the packing plant.
"I took four steps into my yard and my eyes and mouth started burning. I took two more steps and I was no longer able to breathe," Radford said.
Cal Fire responded to the area about 9:18 p.m. and determined the smell was coming from the packing plant at 7916 W. Bellevue Road in Winton.
Firefighters contacted workers at the plant and deemed the situation safe, said Fire Capt. Gene Potkey. "It was determined that it was the plant using the ammonia for a cleaning purpose. It did not evolve into a hazardous release."
While the smell was extremely potent it didn't last very long, Radford said.
"It dissipated rather quickly," he said. "About 45 minutes later there wasn't any more ammonia in the air that I could notice."
Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or email@example.com.