An ammonia leak that occurred outside Swansea shortly after 8:00 AM yesterday, killed one, injured at least nine others, and damaged several homes in the area.
Tanner Industries representative David Binder confirmed that the company had a leak of nearly 2,000 pounds of the compressed gas and hydrous ammonia during an unloading operation when the transfer hose connecting the trailer to the storage tank burst and a hole formed, allowing the ammonia gas to escape. The ammonia cloud drifted over U.S. Highway 321.
A woman, now known to be 38-year-old Jacqueline Patrice Ginyard of Wagener was traveling towards Columbia, came upon the cloud and attempted to turn around, but authorities believe that the car may have stalled when it came into contact with the cloud. Investigators believe that she then got out of her car where she was found. Her death is believed to be directly linked to the leak.
Ammonia is a corrosive substance. The severity of its effects depends upon how you are exposed, the dose, and the duration of the exposure. Exposure can cause immediate burning of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage or death.
If you have been exposed to ammonia: quickly move away from the area where you think you were exposed, quickly remove any clothing that may have ammonia on it, and quickly wash any ammonia from your skin with large amounts of soap and water. If needed seek medical attention right away. While there is no known cure for ammonia poisoning, its effects can be treated, and most victims recover.
Officials are asking anyone who lives in the area, but may have been at work during the incident, to check their home for property damage and contact DHEC with any concerns.