Clayton Elementary School was evacuated this afternoon after a report of an ammonia leak at nearby Hanover Foods. Students were taken to a nearby middle school, and then were allowed to return after the situation was declared safe by local fire companies and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
The DNREC emergency response team from the was called to investigate the ammonia release at Hanover Foods, according to a press release from DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti.
Clayton Elementary was evacuated temporarily as a precaution, with students and staff moved to a nearby middle school. They were allowed to return to the elementary school later in the afternoon after it had been thoroughly ventilated under the direction of the DNREC emergency response team and local fire companies responding to the incident.
The ammonia was released at Hanover Foods through an old pipe that was being replaced on the plant's roof, Globetti said. Oil contaminated with ammonia sprayed onto the roof, and the ammonia rapidly evaporated and was carried by the wind in the direction of the elementary school.
Local fire companies from Clayton and Smyrna responded to the incident and teamed with school staff to ensure the students' safety, then worked with Hanover Foods to stop the ammonia leak. The DNREC emergency response team then worked with fire company personnel to ensure public safety for the first-responders and students.
The DNREC emergency response team next moved to the plant roof to mitigate the ammonia release and assess the contaminated oil.
Both fire companies and the DNREC emergency response team declared the incident under control in mid-afternoon, Globetti said.
The students and staff returned to the school.
DNREC is conducting an investigation and DNREC's accidental release program is reviewing the incident.