TEWKSBURY, MASS. (WHDH) – Residents are being allowed back onto Carter Street and the surrounding area after an ammonia leak prompted an evacuation in Tewksbury, according to police.
The police department issued an evacuation notice around 3:13 p.m., as crews responded to the Breakaway Ice Center skating rink. Authorities were initially called in around 2:30 p.m. for reports of an explosion, only to discover the apparent leak.
“What we believe it was, was the pressure release valve releasing on an ammonia storage tanks,” said Tewksbury Fire Chief Joseph Kearns. “It can be very dangerous if it is inhaled.”
One injury was reported, involving an employee who tried stop the leak by reaching for an emergency off switch. Officials said the worker was treated for minor injuries and is expected to be OK.
Police believe some 50 people were at the rink at the time of the incident and were able to get out, including a hockey team.
“We were just playing and the alarm started going off,” hockey player Luke Morrisette told 7NEWS.
“I don’t think anybody was really in danger until we were told the ammonia leak happened,” said Zach Pappas, another player.
By 3:30 p.m., officials considered the ammonia leak “contained” as Tewksbury Fire continued to work with a hazmat team.
Locals, including those living in the surrounding neighborhood, were asked to stay away from the area until an all-clear is given. Traffic also had to be rerouted as the hazmat response continued.
“That place has been there for 30 years – never had a problem, never once, you know, so actually, this, I think, is more of a fluke thing,” David Berg, a resident, told 7NEWS.
Tewksbury Police announced the area was deemed safe around 5:40 p.m., allowing residents to return.
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