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False alarm at poultry lab
Workers evacuated, isolated for suspected hydrochloric acid spill
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One person is being treated for minor respiratory issues after an incident at the Georgia Poultry Lab Network in Oakwood, said Scott Cagle, spokesman for Hall County Fire Services.

Firefighters and hazardous material crews responded to reports of a chemical leak at the lab around noon Friday.

Workers were evacuated and isolated outside the building, but fears of ammonia or hydrochloric acid spill turned out to be a false alarm.

There is "no chemical leak of any kind," Cagle said. "A piece of computer equipment emitted an odor that was (irritating) to some employees."

The 50-year-old lab is at 4457 Oakwood Road, just a few blocks from Ga. 53/Mundy Mill Road and Interstate 985.

"We sent in our crews until they traced it back to the equipment," Cagle said.

Workers were let back inside after fire officials found the source of the noxious smell.

“There was no chemical leak at all,” said Louise Dufour-Zavala, executive director of the lab. “There’s really no chemicals used in that lab, that’s why we called them.”

Dufour-Zavala added that the unusual smell was tied to a battery backup on a robotics unit that had burnt out.

“It turned out to be nothing,” she said.

The lab tests chicken in different ways for antibodies in serum, Dufour-Zavala said.