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Ammonia Leak Forces People From Their Homes Near Birds-Eye Plant

Jacqueline Zaborowski cradles her foster cat, Seven, while Brenda Capron reads a magazine at the Fulton Community Center.  The city opened the room for people evacuated from the area around the ammonia leak at the former Birds-Eye frozen food plant.
Jacqueline Zaborowski cradles her foster cat, Seven, while Brenda Capron reads a magazine at the Fulton Community Center. The city opened the room for people evacuated from the area around the ammonia leak at the former Birds-Eye frozen food plant.

The City of Fulton opened its community room Thursday night for people displaced by the order to evacuate an area near the Birds-Eye frozen food plant, where ammonia was leaking from a pipe.

A peek into the community room revealed two evacuees:  Jacqueline Zaborowski of Seventh St. and her friend, Brenda Capron, who is staying with her while hunting for a new apartment.

“I thought she’d just lost her mind, yelling ‘Get out, get out’,” said Capron of her host.  But Zaborowski had gotten a reverse-911 call and a visit from a city firefighter, both of which urged her to leave.

“They told us to go to a relative’s house. I told them my closest relative is in Kentucky,” Zaborowski said, laughing.  That led to an invitation to the community center, where police officers set them up with chairs, magazines and sodas.  A radio played country music.

There was one other resident in the room — a mostly-blind kitten named Seven that Zaborowski had agreed to foster back to health.  The kitten laid on her shoulder the entire time.

She said she hoped they’d be back home soon.  “If this is the worst thing to happen to me today, it’ll be all right,” she said.

A couple of hours later, the city gave the all-clear and people returned home.

Acting Fire Chief Paul Foster said that a 1.25 inch pipe began leaking at about 8:22 p.m. Thursday.  Maintenance workers at the plant were able to stop the leak.

Homes along Jerome and Gansvoort streets were evacuated as a precaution.

The community center and War Memorial were left open all night for residents who did not want to go home.

The Birds-Eye plant closed earlier this year, though the company keeps a few workers on site to maintain the plant.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you Dave for reporting the incident with a level head from the first minute. The news reports that were coming out of some of the other outlets were absolutely ridiculous, with several radio stations even reporting a “5 mile radius” of the City of Fulton under evacuation, initially. They had people terrified!

    Kudos to Oswego County Today for always reporting responsibly!

  2. After reading that story… I was thinking.

    Now, might be a good time to think of emergency planning for your households. Emergencies don’t always come during expected times, like snow storms.
    You need to think about what you might need… cash, gas… your meds, food, water …
    What if you have special needs? Have you thought about that?
    special needs for yourself…
    How about if you have pets, do you have a plan?
    Do you have a way to confine them? Do you have food and water? Do you know what areas are and are not pet friendly?
    It is time to try and think ahead of time.

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