Fulton (WSYR-TV) -- Residents living near the former Birds Eye plant in Fulton have been given the okay from the Mayor to return to their homes after an ammonia leak Thursday night.
Mayor Ronald Woodward says the leak, which was reported at around 8:30 p.m., has been contained.
According to Fire Chief Paul Foster, the leak occurred in a pipe of the refrigeration system and has since been isolated and contained by on-site maintenance.
Residents in the area of Jerome and Gansvoort streets in Fulton were evacuated as a precaution and were notified of the leak by the Oswego County E-911 Communications Center and Fulton Police Department, Foster said.
One evacuee staying at City Hall during the incident told NewsChannel 9, “911 called the house and said to evacuate and that there was a leak of some kind…I didn’t question it,” said evacuee Jacquelin Zaborowski. “I closed the windows, grabbed the cat…and drove to the fire station down the end of our street...they told us to go to a relative’s house. My closest relative is in Kentucky, so they told us to come here.”
Another evacuee described the pungent odor of ammonia as he was driving by the plant.
“I was coming home and the smell hit me. My windows were down in the car. It was a very heavy odor of ammonia. It catches your breath. It burns and stings your eyes,” Neal Hart said.
Any ammonia remaining in the air may irritate nearby residents, according to Chief Foster. Those who do not wish to stay at home may go to the War Memorial or the Community Room at the Fulton Municipal Building.
The Birds Eye plant closed last year to concentrate its operation in Wisconsin. The plant is now owned by Pinnacle Foods.
A company from Buffalo has been called in to repair the leak.
The Fulton Fire Department, along with an Oswego County Hazmat Team, officials with the Oswego Health Department and the State Department of Environmental Conservation Spill responded to the scene.