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Firefighters had to return a second time to the scene of an ammonia leak and evacuation at the Jonesboro, AR, Butterball turkey plant, officials said.

Reports from the scene said the leak was a continuation of the morning incident, officials said.
The factory was already investigating what caused an ammonia leak at their plant early Nov. 6 in the morning.

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An official with Butterball said the source of the original leak was located and contained, but they are still trying to determine the exact cause.

Jonesboro Fire Department Battalion Chief Brett Winstead said a power outage overnight resulting from storms may have caused the leak.

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Jonesboro Fire Chief Kevin Miller said crews responded to the Butterball factory, 9401 E. Highland Dr., for the leak at 12:30 a.m.

Fire crews began leaving just after 6 a.m., turning over the scene to factory officials.

At one point one person was “unofficially unaccounted” for when the building was evacuated. However, the person was found and no injuries were reported, Miller said.

Butterball released the following statement:

“At approximately 12:30 a.m. a first ammonia leak occurred inside our Jonesboro, Arkansas plant, causing the facility to be evacuated. As part of our plant’s strict emergency and safety protocols, plant supervisors immediately and safely evacuated the entire facility, activated our pre-determined emergency action plan and alerted the Jonesboro Fire Department. The source of the leak was identified and crews have been working to repair the leak.

“At approximately 4 p.m. a second ammonia leak was detected, the plant was again evacuated and the Jonesboro Fire Department returned to the facility.

“We will continue to work closely with the Jonesboro Fire Department until the situation is resolved. At this time, it is unknown when production within the plant will resume. All product is being managed in accordance with regulatory protocols and moved for evaluation and disposition.

“Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our employees, our consumers and the communities in which they live is a top priority. As a result of our regular emergency trainings, our employees reacted quickly and appropriately.”

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