BARRON COUNTY -- A chemical leak at Jennie-O in Barron Closed HWY 8 earlier this morning, according to a press release from the Barron County Sheriff’s Office.
At 9:27am on Monday, October 31 2022, the Barron County 911 Center received a call from the Jennie-O Plant in Barron reporting a chemical leak at its Main Plant Feed Mill location. Upon arrival, emergency responders conducted an assessment and determined that two chemicals (Anatox and Lysine) had been accidentally mixed together and were off-gassing a poisonous vapor into the atmosphere. Jennie-O had immediately evacuated the facility to protect employees against inhalation hazards.
Emergency responders enacted a precautionary shelter-in-place on the north side of the plant that encompassed the Barron County Highway Department and Riverview Terrace Estates. A precautionary shelter-in-place was also issued on the south side of the plant, from Hwy 8 to LaSalle Ave, beginning at 6th Street and extending to 11th Street. This also included a detour of Hwy 8 as an added safety measure.
Afternoon weather patterns assisted in keeping the chemical vapor mostly within the Jennie-O property, however air monitoring of the surrounding neighborhoods was continually being conducted by the Barron Fire Department to ensure public safety.
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At approximately 11:30am, Jennie-O plant representatives and emergency responders determined that the chemical mixture posed no further danger to public health, at which time the shelters-in-place were lifted and Hwy 8 was reopened.
Two employees drove themselves to local hospitals to be checked out. No other injuries were reported.
Responding agencies included:
- Barron Maple Grove Fire Department
- Mayo Ambulance
- Rice Lake Fire Department/Hazmat Team
- Barron Police Department
- Barron County Sheriff's Department
- Per Chris Fitzgerald Joe Vierkandt
- Barron County Sheriff Barron Police Chief