Residents concerned after Terrell Co. plant fire, evacuation

Residents concerned after Terrell Co. plant fire, evacuation
Full-time employees for Tyson Chicken plant in Dawson will be paid for a full week of work for three weeks.(Source: Terrell Co. Fire Dept.)

TERRELL CO., GA (WALB) - Dozens of homes were evacuated late Wednesday night after the Tyson Foods plant had a chemical fire.

First responders from Terrell, Lee, and Dougherty Counties and Americus were called out to the fire around 9 p.m.

One woman WALB spoke with said her son came to pick her up Wednesday night because he was concerned for her safety. She said she returned home a few hours later.

A company spokesperson said ammonia was released into the air during the fire, prompting officials to evacuate residents in the area.

Tyson Foods released a statement about the fire:

There was a fire in a dock area of our Dawson, Ga., plant last night. Our team members were evacuated and there were no injuries. We're grateful for area fire departments and their quick response. The incident involved the release of ammonia, which is used as a refrigerant at the plant. The leak has been isolated and we're working to determine the root cause. The plant will not operate the rest of this week. We're evaluating the damage and will determine when we might resume operations sometime next week.

Tyson Foods officials said all of their employees who were at the plant at the time of the fire were able to safely evacuate and no injuries were reported.

WALB was told by a spokesperson this plant provides poultry to a number of the southeast states and will be closed through the week. That includes delays to all shipments and deliveries.

After that, they will assess the situation and decide when to reopen.

WALB also contacted Georgia's Environmental Protection Division to see if they are going to investigate the cause of the ammonia release that happened during the fire but we have not heard back yet.

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