By Carol A. Gasser Moore
LANIER COUNTY, Georgia – South Georgia is a region well familiar with poultry plants and production. Earlier today, six people were killed and a dozen others were injured when a liquid nitrogen line ruptured at a north Georgia poultry plant.
Hall County Sheriff’s Department and other first responders responded to the incident. According to Zach Brackett, a Hall County Fire Services spokesman, the accident happened at a Foundation Food Group plant on Memorial Park Drive in Gainesville, Georgia at 10:12 a.m. First responder crews arrived at the scene about 10:20 a.m.. They determined the incident involved hazardous materials and called in a hazmat team.
Five people were dead at the scene, and 9 others were taken to the emergency room at Northeast Georgia Medical Center with injuries, officials said. The Lanier County News has learned that one of those patients died at the hospital. The hospital was able to handle all persons injured in the accident despite high levels of COVID-19 patients in care. Hall County has made recent news because of the numbers of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the area.
Since the initial incident, the Lanier County News has learned that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of a fatal chemical release at Prime Pak Foods in Gainesville, GA. Two CSB investigators are scheduled to arrive in Georgia later this evening. The remaining team members will be arriving Friday. Dr. Lemos, CSB CEO and Chairman, will also be arriving on Friday.
According to initial reports, a release of liquid nitrogen led to six fatalities, nine others were transported to the hospital, with three in critical condition and six in fair condition.
The CSB will provide updates as additional information becomes available.
The CSB’s core mission activities include conducting incident investigations; formulating preventive or mitigative recommendations based on investigation findings and advocating for their implementation; issuing reports containing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations arising from incident investigations; and conducting studies on chemical hazards.