State Investigating PCS Phosphate Ammonia Leak

The state Department of Labor says it has opened up an investigation into last week's accident at PCS Phosphate.

Seventeen people were injured during an ammonia leak at the Aurora plant Friday afternoon. All of the workers have since been released from the hospital.

The state says it has six months to complete an investigation before the statute of limitations kicks in.

A PCS spokesperson said the leak was stopped and the ammonia was contained on the plant site. The immediate areas around the leak and areas downwind were evacuated.

Ten of those people injured were PCS employees, while seven were contractors.


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All workers who were exposed to ammonia Friday afternoon at PCS Phosphate have been released from area hospitals.

The leak happened around 2 P.M. at the rail car unloading station and initially hospitalized 17 workers.

A spokesperson said the leak was stopped and the ammonia was contained on the plant site.

The immediate areas around the leak and areas downwind were evacuated.

10 of those people injured were PCS employees, while 7 were contractors.

Three of those were treated at Beaufort County Medical Center, where officials say plans are in place for events like this, where many require treatment at once.

Beaufort County Emergency Management Director John Pack says the leak was in a rubber hose and workers were complaining of breathing problems.

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Two workers who were exposed to ammonia Friday afternoon at PCS Phosphate remain in a Greenville hospital.

The leak happened around 2:00 p.m. at the rail car unloading station and initially sent 17 workers to area hospitals.

PCS spokesperson Michele Vaught says the leak was stopped and the ammonia was contained on the plant site. By Friday night 15 of those workers were released from the hospital.

Vaught says the immediate areas around the leak and areas downwind were evacuated. She says 10 of those people injured were PCS employees, while 7 were contractors.

Beaufort County Emergency Management Director John Pack says the leak was in a rubber hose and workers were complaining of breathing problems.

The remaining 2 contractors, who are injured, are at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. We're told they remained overnight for observation.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by been there Location: washington on Oct 16, 2009 at 08:21 AM
    I was a contactor at PCS from 1986-1990. Got out bid and lost the contract. I could have a huge chip on my shoulder about it, but you know what? I will tell you all, Safety is the top priority at PCS! Accidents happen. This company is the most proactive protectors of employees and contractors. Howell Miller used to get on my nerves with all the PCS rules and regs. But you know, he was always right. And we were safe. I don't have to tell anyone what I think because I KNOW it is true.
  • by Anonymous Location: Washington on Oct 15, 2009 at 04:42 PM
    I have several friends working for PCS. In every conversation I hear the word safety. I doesn't matter if it's talking about the plant or cutting grass, safety is always mentioned. This is a learned behavior they get from where?.....PCS
  • by Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 at 05:40 PM
    To clarify, the person injured on Oct 2. was in ICU for 5 days. He did undergo brain surgery to remove a clot, and repair his crushed forehead. I believe that this incident definately deserved attention from the news and PCS should have commented. Thankful that he is alive!
  • by Looking In Location: Washington on Oct 13, 2009 at 03:42 PM
    Sounds to me like the State Department of Labor needs to investigate the Oct. 2 incident! Someone must be hiding something. You think?
  • by Concerned Location: Washington on Oct 13, 2009 at 02:40 PM
    Sounds to me like someone is not telling the truth about the person injured on Oct. 2. He had to ubdergo 4 hours of brain surgery to repair this skull; stayed in ICU for 4 days. THAT I believe is worthy of news. PCS must not want to talk about his accident.You think?
  • by WITN on Oct 13, 2009 at 08:50 AM
    WITN checked on the October 2 accident. We received a report that someone was taken to the hospital with a head injury but was released the next day. If you have additional information, please e-mail it to desk@witn.com.
  • by Luci Location: Washington on Oct 13, 2009 at 07:56 AM
    What about the person who was air lifted to PCMH with an head injury from an accident on Oct. 2?
  • by wife of employee Location: chocowinity on Oct 13, 2009 at 07:28 AM
    To everyone who has no idea what they are talking about PCS is all about safety sometimes to much!! My husband, three uncles and several other relatives have worked there for many years there are not many accidents that take place. They have very dangerous jobs in which they know they are taking risk they know what they sign up for when they go down there accidents happen that is why they are accidents. As for everyone who thinks PCS is so bad and did not want them to get the permits if they ever shutdown Beaufort County would be a ghost town there are not enough jobs to cover the employees they have. That means they would move and so would there familys taking away from the county. Don't speak on subjects you know nothing about!
  • by no name Location: ENC on Oct 13, 2009 at 04:18 AM
    SMith, once again the story mentions the contractors, or sub contractors, or non employees of PCS, whatever you want to call them. Contractors and Sub-contractors are responsible for following their own safety rules, however it is often those very people who put other peoples safety at risk. Read the report on the Con-Arga plant in Raleigh.
  • by Bill Location: Greenville on Oct 11, 2009 at 03:40 PM
    There are a lot of people talking about a subject they know nothing about. PCS is dedicated to their employees and the environment! Their safety focus is amazing, they will take the safe approach over the profit making approach every time. If you have never been down there or seen it yourself, don't comment on it. I am not an employee, but my job takes me there frequently. If every organization was this committed to safety and the environment, we would all be better off. If you have not seen the site or talked to the employees, get in touch with them. I think they would talk to you about it and let you see first hand the dedicated and professional approach they have to these topics.
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