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Georgia: Liquid nitrogen leak at Prime Pak Foods' poultry plant kills 6, injures dozen

Christian Fernsby |
A liquid nitrogen leak at a northeast Georgia poultry plant killed six people today, with multiple others taken to the hospital, officials said.

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Beth Downs, a spokesperson for Northeast Georgia Health System, said five people died at the Gainesville plant before they could be taken to the hospital, while one person died in the emergency room.

Hall County Fire Department Division Chief Zach Brackett said firefighters responded to the leak after 10am (local time) at Prime Pak Foods.

“Once the units arrived, they found a large contingent of employees that had evacuated, along with multiple victims that were in that crowd that were also experiencing medical emergencies around the facility," Brackett told reporters in a televised news briefing.

Brackett said firefighters, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the state fire marshal were investigating what happened. Poultry plants rely on refrigeration systems that can include liquid nitrogen.

“It was a leak of unknown cause that has occurred in the system here,” Brackett said. “We still have a lot of information we're trying to gather from the scene.”

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