Anhydrous leak contained at Mason City co-op

MASON CITY — An anhydrous ammonia leak has been contained at a co-op on Mason City’s south side.

Emergency authorities were called to the Five Star Co-op at about 9:30 Tuesday morning after an 80-thousand gallon anhydrous ammonia tank was hit and a valve was sheared, causing a release of the gas.

Five Star general manager Ken Smith says they immediately contacted first responders and authorities as their foremost concern was for the safety of the community and their employees. The Mason City Recycling Center and the Cartersville Elevator were evacuated but no homes in the area adjacent to the co-op were impacted.

A hazmat team from the Mason City Fire Department was able to install a new valve and control the leak shortly before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Smith says they continue to work at the direction of local authorities but the tank is secured, and that no injuries were reported.

Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause irritations to the eyes, nose and throat, as well as cause breathing difficulties and chest pain.