WHEELING - Police and fire department officials shut down a large portion of the East Wheeling industrial area for about 30 minutes Monday following reports of an ammonia leak at Ziegenfelder Ice Cream Co.
The frozen treat plant evacuated all employees at about 3:15 p.m. after a third-party vendor reportedly spilled the substance - known for its toxic effects on the respiratory system - while doing work inside the factory, said company president Lisa Allen. She noted the issue was not a result of faulty equipment or employee error.
Once public safety officials arrived on scene, they blocked off all entry points from 16th to 18th streets between Jacob and Eoff streets. Allen said all employees received proper health checks on scene and evacuated to a pre-planned safe zone along 18th Street.
Photo by Zach Macormac
Wheeling firefighters respond to an ammonia leak at Ziegenfelder Ice Cream Co. on Monday.
Police Lt. Tom Mitchell was one of several who directed traffic. He said officials on scene were securing and ventilating the plant while he waited at the intersection at 16th and Eoff streets for an "all clear." Mitchell received the message at about 3:45 p.m. and allowed traffic to re-enter the area.
Allen said there have been minor ammonia leaks at the plant in the past, and emergency protocols are always exercised. Employees all retreat to a safe zone after using a manual time card system that tracks who leaves the building. The system ensures no one is still inside the building.
Ziegenfelder is best known for mass-producing frozen treats under the brand name Budget Saver.