Two workers hospitalized after ammonia leak at cheese factory

Approximate location, shown in black, where an ammonia leak at a cheese factory sent two workers to the hospital.
(Mapping L.A.)

An ammonia leak at a South Gate cheese factory sent two workers to the hospital early Tuesday morning, according to authorities.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to the report of an ammonia leak at 5 a.m. in the 5600 block of East Imperial Highway.

The building, which manufactures Saputo Cheese USA, was evacuated and cordoned off after a worker reported falling ill, said L.A. County Fire Supervisor Michael Pittman. The worker was transported to a local hospital.

A second worker also received medical treatment and at least one additional person complained of reaction to the odorous chemical, Pittman said.


Fire crews identified the leak and plugged it shortly after being called to the scene, Pittman added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the clear, colorless gas or liquid can cause eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and burning of mouth, throat and stomach.

Ammonia is used in the refrigeration process, according to a job posting listed by Saputo Cheese USA.

The building remained closed as Los Angeles County’s hazmat crews cleaned up the leak.


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