Firefighters and mechanics of V.H. Azhderian and Co. contained an ammonia leak Monday night at the farming business’s cold-storage facility before anyone was injured.
Fire Chief Tim Marrison said two fire engines and two chief officers responded to calls of an anhydrous ammonia leak at 8:52 p.m. at the facility.
The leak was caused by a break in the quarter-inch oil return line that led back to the compressor for Azhderian’s cooling system, Marrison said.
“Ammonia was released into the atmosphere,” Marrison said. “The wind carried it east of the location, primarily down the rail corridor.”
Marrison said no one was in the suspected spread area of the leak, which included the Los Banos Community Center. Police and firefighters patrolled the corridor to make sure no one was exposed.
“The community center wasn’t occupied, but we did close off the area,” Marrison said, noting that a bus stop at the center was moved temporarily to Seventh Street.
Fire crews worked with the mechanics and a refrigeration company to shut off the valves and stop the leak, Marrison said. Crews were on the scene until midnight.
Marrison said it appeared the line break was due to normal wear and tear.