salami.jpgPreviously: Area Reopens After Salame Plant Ammonia Spill

The last of the eight people hospitalized after an ammonia leak at a meat processing plant in South San Francisco on Friday has been released from the hospital, a fire marshal said today.

The leak, which prompted the closure of several roads, was reported at about 5:45 a.m. at the Columbus Salame plant at 493 Forbes Blvd., South San Francisco Fire Marshal Luis Da Silva said.

The leaking valve was capped at about 8 a.m. and all roads were reopened by about 10:40 a.m. Da Silva said.

The ammonia is used in the plant’s cooling system to chill the meat after it is processed.

Exposure to the chemical, which affects the respiratory system, hospitalized eight people. Sixteen others were treated at the scene and released, Da Silva said.

The last of the eight who were hospitalized was released from the hospital earlier this week, he said.

Da Silva said today that everyone involved was lucky there wasn’t greater exposure to the chemical.

“It could have gotten as bad that if they were overcome, they could have died,” he said.
“It’s possible it could restrict your breathing and you could succumb to respiratory problems.”

He said of the eight hospitalized, one or two work in the salame plant and the others work in neighboring businesses.

The leak occurred in the roof area, company president Ralph Denisco said.

Columbus Salame is upgrading its ammonia system at the plant, and the contractor doing the work arrived Friday morning and realized something was amiss as he went up to the roof to begin working, Denisco said.

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