A Fayette County deputy was taken to the hospital in Hawkeye, Iowa, on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, after being exposed to a chemical cloud from a leaking anhydrous ammonia tank, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Local authorities suspect that someone tampered with a nearby fertilizer tank, which caused an ammonia leak and a gaseous cloud to form, according to the source.
The tank was still leaking hazardous materials when officials arrived on the scene. While nearby roads were quickly blocked off to prevent further exposure, the amount of hazardous ammonia chemicals that made it into the airways were still a potential threat. Cleanup crews were faced with two tasks – containing the leak and dissipating the cloud.
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The Fayette County deputy’s condition is still unknown, but the cleanup process is well underway. Due to the fast response time of local authorities, there have been no other reports of exposure to ammonia in the area, and the toxic chemicals have been safely absorbed.