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Pier 38 evacuated after ammonia leak

  • DENNIS ODA / FEB. 3

    Fifteen people were evaluated by Emergency Medical Services personnel following an ammonia leak at the Hawaiian Ice Co. this evening.

A massive ammonia leak at the Hawaiian Ice Co. at Pier 38 this evening resulted in the evacuation of more than 100 people from neighboring businesses and vessels.

According to Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins, the leak originated from a 6,500-pound container.

Witnesses said the leak produced a large noxious cloud that drifted across the pier.

HFD responded to the 5:07 p.m. emergency call with 12 companies staffed with about 40 personnel.

The department’s hazardous materials team was able to enter the business and shut off the supply of ammonia. As of 7:15 p.m., HazMat personnel were continuing to take readings of ammonia levels to determine when the building could be re-opened for further ventilation.

Fifteen people were evaluated by Emergency Medical Services personnel. Of those, nine received treatment on site for irritated eyes, breathing difficulties and other symptoms and refused transport to a hospital. One person was transported to an area hospital for further treatment.

Ana Settle, 42, a cashier at Nico’s Pier 38, was near the door of the fish market when a customer came in gagging from exposure to the ammonia. She called 911 then helped as the business evacuated staff and customers.

“You could feel it in your lungs,” Settle said. “I felt dizzy and I couldn’t breathe. We got out of there as fast as we could.”

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