COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The shelter in place order for residents living near the former Tobin’s First Prize meatpacking plant in Colonie has been lifted after efforts from local first responders and a demolition crew. Residents were asked to stay at home after an ammonia leak occurred while demolishing the former Tobin’s First Prize building.
“Initially, we got calls from people getting sick from an unknown odor,” said Mike Romano, Deputy Fire Coordinator for the Town of Colonie. “At the same time residents were notifying us, Jackson Demolition notified our communication division that they ruptured an ammonia line from a refrigeration unit, and that’s where the leak was coming from.”
The leak, which happened around 12:45 p.m. on Monday, resulted in several roads being blocked off and a shelter in place order for residents living within a one-mile radius of the plant. Romano says no one who was overcome by the ammonia fumes was seriously hurt.
The long-vacant meatpacking plant has been under demolition. Romano told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that the crew with Jackson Demolition had been told that all the lines in the former Tobin’s plant had been drained before they began working on removing an old refrigeration unit in the building.
Officials worked with the company to safely remove the unit. Romano says Jackson Demolition had a properly trained and verified operator to remove the rest of the coils. He said there was a minimal amount of ammonia left in the lines. “Between that, the operations of the West Albany Hazmat Team, we were able to control the vapor with little to no smell at all,” he said.