- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 21, 2009

LUMBER BRIDGE, N.C. — An ammonia leak Saturday at a poultry processing plant in North Carolina killed one worker and injured four others, authorities said.

Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said the leak occurred about 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mountaire Farms plant in Robeson County in southern-central North Carolina, about 16 miles south of Fayetteville.

Sealey identified the worker who died as Clifton Swain, 47, of Fayetteville at a mid-afternoon briefing. Sealey did not have additional details about Swain.

County Emergency Management Director Charles Britt told The Fayetteville Observer that the leak has been contained.

The four injured workers, who were not identified, were taken to hospitals.

The ammonia leak happened while workers were doing maintenance work on a piece of machinery at the plant, the sheriff’s department said in a news release. Investigators have ruled it was an accident and that no crime was involved.

Authorities have said that 30 to 40 people were at the plant when the leak occurred. Sealey said all workers have been accounted for at the plant, which employs 2,500 people.

A call to Mountaire Farms was not immediately returned Saturday. However, the company issued a statement expressing condolences for the victims and promising to cooperate with authorities.

Sealey said the State Bureau of Investigation along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were contacted after the accident.

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