Nebraska Department Controls Chemical Spill

Anhydrous ammonia leaked in western Douglas County and people were evacuated.

Two vehicles apparently collided Monday afternoon near 204th Street and West Center Road. One was carrying two 1,000-pound tanks of anhydrous ammonia. One of those tanks was completely empty within a matter of minutes.

Sheriff Tim Dunning told KETV NewsWatch 7 that people north of that area were being evacuated from their homes. Anhydrous ammonia is very toxic when breathed into the lungs.

All homeowners in the area were told to go inside and close the doors and windows. Firefighters and other first responders were suiting up in hazmat suits to get closer to the accident site. They arrived shortly before 5 p.m.

The immediate threat was over by 5 p.m., but the roads in the area were still closed as crews worked to decontaminate.

At 3:45 p.m., Tom Baker, of the Douglas County Health Department, said he had no reports of people affected by the ammonia plume. Baker said moderate to high winds helped dissipate the plume quickly.

The woman Dunning said caused the accident was driving on a suspended license after several drunken driving convicitons. It was her car that hit the truck towing the ammonia tanks.

Read more on the risks of exposure.

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