Hall County and Gainesville fire crews responded to a bleach spill Friday morning at Gold Creek chicken plant in Gainesville.
Crews arrived at the plant, located at 2076 Memorial Park Drive, around 11:26 a.m. and found that a large tank filled with bleach was leaking, according to Hall County Fire Services spokeswoman Christie Grice.
“The chemical drained from the tank into an internal contained drain inside the business,” she said. “The business was evacuated, four people were evaluated on the scene for minor injuries. The business was ventilated and the chemical leak has been contained.”
She said no one was taken to the hospital, and emergency service personnel cleared the scene around 12:20 a.m.
She said a private hazmat response team was enroute to the plant for cleanup.
Gold Creek spokeswoman Erin Williamson said the 275-gallon tank was
damaged by a piece of metal on a delivery truck. It was a FedEx truck, according to Grice.
“Gold Creek team members attempted to reject the package upon delivery but were refused by the driver,” Williamson said. “By the time team members were able to move the package and stop the leak, approximately 100 gallons had leaked at a concentration of just 12 percent.”
“The leak into the plant’s contained drainage system contributed to a detectable odor within the plant,” she said. “Out of an abundance of caution, Gold Creek team members initiated a safe and orderly evacuation of the plant per safety protocols.”
She said no injuries have been reported, though a few team members close to the leak reported mild eye irritation.
It is the same plant where six people were killed and 12 hospitalized after a nitrogen leak Jan. 28, 2021. At the time, the plant was owned by Foundation Food Group, but the company was later purchased by Gold Creek in September 2021.
An investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board remains open. In July, OSHA announced 59 alleged violations against Foundation Food Group, Messer LLC and two other companies that could lead to nearly $1 million in penalties.