Employees Say They Were Sick From Strong Ammonia Smells Months B - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Employees Say They Were Sick From Strong Ammonia Smells Months Before Leak

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Tuesday morning was not the first time employees at Pasco Processing Center noticed strong smells of ammonia. Tuesday morning was not the first time employees at Pasco Processing Center noticed strong smells of ammonia.
PASCO, WA - Tuesday morning was not the first time employees at Pasco Processing Center noticed strong smells of ammonia.

Emergency crews tell NBC Right Now if the leak hadn't been detected things could have escalated, but they prevented any type of possible explosion.

The main concern was employees breathing in dangerous chemicals. We met with a woman who works at the plant Tuesday who tells us she believes she breathed in the same gases way back in July.

"There were days it was pretty strong to where I was throwing up."

The employee wants to remain anonymous, but she tells us she wasn't exactly shocked when she heard about the ammonia gas leak.

"I told my lead a few times that I felt sick and wanted to go home but I wasn't allowed to go home."

Tuesday's leak sent home around 200 employees. The cause of the leak is not yet clear, but crews say it could have gotten worse.

"If it hadn't been detected then there could have certainly been bigger problems at least medically for out patients," explained Pasco Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Hare.

It's possible to inhale deadly amounts of the gas. Our anonymous employee says she had tried to find masks to wear while sorting through corn at the plant.

"I didn't know where to get one. I never had one. I'd have to cover my face with a bandana or some kind of towel on my face."

Between not feeling safe at work before and the leak from Tuesday, she's considering a new career. When we asked if she'd continue to work at the plant she said, "No, not there. No, I don't like it there."

We made multiple calls to the plant Tuesday asking for further details but they have not returned our calls.

If there's one thing the Pasco fire crews witnessed, they said they were able to work well with the processing center to keep things under control and from getting any worse. 
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