A truck carries two tanks from the scene at Highway KR between the Town of Paris and the Village of Union Grove Wednesday afternoon (Jason Arndt/The Report).

No injuries reported

By Jason Arndt

For about two hours on Wednesday, a leak involving anhydrous ammonia shut down Highway 45 near the Kenosha County line, but authorities report no injuries resulted from the leak.

The accident happened at around 10:30 a.m. when the driver carrying dual anhydrous ammonia tanks discovered a partial leak, citing a mechanical malfunction of a valve, which reportedly caused 400 gallons of anhydrous ammonia to release into the air.

“There was a mechanical malfunction on one of the valves of the tank and while the vehicle was moving, ammonia began to leak,” said Sgt. Erik Klinkhammer of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. “The leak consisted of about 400 gallons.”

In this accident, the anhydrous ammonia was used for farming purposes, Klinkhammer said.

Anhydrous ammonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is a clear colorless liquid under pressure and when released, it turns into gas.

Sgt. Eric Klinkhammer of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department explains the cause of an anhydrous ammonia leak Wednesday in the Village of Union Grove near Highway KR, where the accident happened (Jason Arndt/The Report).

When authorities arrived the scene, located near Highway KR, they immediately contacted the Hazmat team and alerted residents between the Town of Paris in Kenosha County and Village of Union Grove in Racine County to take shelter and shut all windows.

“When you inhale it, it becomes a liquid and then it turns into an acid,” said Klinkhammer. “Ammonia is very dangerous, don’t go hear it, so initially we waited for the Hazmat team and the firefighters.”

Noting dangers of anhydrous ammonia, authorities evacuated a Town of Paris resident from his home and later picked up by a family member.

“There was one person evacuated from a house that was immediately adjacent to where the vehicle stopped, it was an elderly gentlemen who was evacuated with no injuries and his family came to pick him up,” said Klinkhammer.

“The elderly gentleman didn’t even know what was happening. The fire department knocked on his door and escorted him out safely.”

For the driver of truck, the man was transported to an area hospital as a precaution, but had no reported injuries.

Authorities reopened Highway 45 at about 1:30 p.m., when the toxic gas evaporated into the air, according to Klinkhammer.

Fire Departments from Somers, Salem Lakes, Union Grove and Pleasant Prairie assisted and the valve on the tanks was able to be closed ending the leak.


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