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Simplot investigating cause of an ammonia leak that shut down Pocatello plant

Local

POCATELLO — J.R. Simplot Company is currently investigating the cause of an ammonia leak that led to the evacuation of its Pocatello plant early Tuesday morning.

The leak occurred just after midnight, according to company spokesman Josh Jordan, who told EastIdahoNews.com that outside assistance has been enlisted as the Boise-based company seeks answers.

“We are working with our internal safety team and external safety and environmental agencies to determine the exact cause of the release and to ensure we have proper mitigation plans to ensure it does not happen again,” Jordan said in an email.

When the leak was detected, employees were evacuated, and all ammonia distribution was immediately shut down, he added.

Following the evacuation, two contracted employees were treated for minor injuries — one for bruises suffered during the evacuation and the other for breathing issues. Both, Jordan said, have been cleared and released from medical care.

Work at the plant has been suspended until the cause can be determined and the proper precautions are put in place to prevent similar emergencies in the future.

“Once those are in place, we will resume normal operations,” Jordan said.

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