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Ammonia leak in Calhoun County leads to overnight evacuations in Hampton

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | September 23, 2021 at 10:17 p.m.
A sign on U.S. 167 in Arkansas welcomes travelers to Calhoun County in this April 2001 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

An anhydrous ammonia leak in south-central Arkansas' Calhoun County on Thursday night forced evacuations in Hampton, according to an Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesperson.

The leak, which happened at around 7 p.m. when a backhoe hit the line while digging at Arkansas Gravel Co. on Calhoun County Road 26/146, about 3 miles southeast of Hampton, the spokesperson said. The leak was plugged, but the amount of ammonia in the air prompted evacuations.

People on the east side of Hampton were evacuated to Hampton High School, on the east side of town. People on the west side of Hampton were ordered to shelter in place.

The Emergency Management spokesperson said the evacuees will not be able to return home until Friday.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation issued a notice at 9:25 p.m. that a 9.5-mile section of U.S. 278 in Calhoun County has been closed. The west-east highway runs north and east of the gravel company, and is less than 2 miles away from the firm at its closest point.

The leak did not cause any injuries, the ADEM spokesperson said.

This story has been updated. It was originally published at 9:54 under the headline "Possible pipeline rupture forces evacuations from Hampton in south-central Arkansas."

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