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Norfolk firefighters investigate ammonia leak

Officials said the surrounding area has been evacuated.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Fire-Rescue crews were investigating an active ammonia leak at a cold storage facility on Curlew Drive, Wednesday afternoon.

Battalion Chief Damon Langley said the surrounding area was evacuated as a precaution. 

"It's not the typical household cleaner you would use in your home. The anhydrous ammonia is pretty toxic; It's used as a refrigerant," Langley said.

"Businesses were evacuated just due to the proximity of everything over here. It's a mixed location with businesses and residences behind Curlew Drive."

Around 3:30 p.m., fire officials said the leak was secured. The leak happened during a repair to a compressor. A gasket blew during the repair and caused the ammonia to leak out. 

"The technicians that work on this type of equipment are really informed and prepared on how to deal with those different things so it could have just been a freak accident," Langley said.

"That ammonia is really toxic - of course it's a irritant to your lung but also when it interacts with air it freezes, so two significant problems we had to take care of." 

In a tweet, the Norfolk Fire-Rescue said no injuries were reported at this time.

No additional information about this investigation has been released at this time.