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Ammonia leak shuts streets and shops in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — An ammonia leak at a seafood business Saturday night prompted emergency officials to close down streets and businesses and ask nearby residents to stay in their homes.

No injuries were reported, and the broken valve on an ammonia tank was sealed after about two hours.

The leak occurred about 8:10 p.m. at Key West Fresh and Frozen Seafood, 333 14th Ave. S. St. Petersburg police officers and firefighters could see the cloud of gas coming from the building and reported a strong ammonia odor in the area.

A 9-mph wind pushed the ammonia, which can cause breathing difficulties, into nearby neighborhoods. Officials didn't order any evacuations, but used the reverse-911 system to alert residents to stay in their homes and close their doors and windows.

The area affected was bounded by 15th Avenue S and 22nd Avenue S, east of Fourth Street S, including the Tropical Shores neighborhood.

Police also closed a number of nearby streets as firefighters set up a command center at Fourth Street and 15th Avenue S. Officials asked a nearby Wendy's and McDonald's to shut down, which they did.

"There is a danger in the immediate vicinity," said Bill Jolley, assistant chief with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.

Firefighters waited until the building owner arrived on scene, then entered the business to stop the leak about 10:25 p.m., Jolley said.

Ammonia leak shuts streets and shops in St. Petersburg 10/11/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 2:02pm]
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