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3 people decontaminated after leak

WINCHESTER — Three people were decontaminated and sent to a local hospital Wednesday afternoon after a leak at a biotechnology company.

The leak happened between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Martek Biosciences Corp.

While employees were loading a box truck with a 700 liter container of ammonium hydroxide, they knocked off a valve that caused the leak, said Winchester fire battalion chief Kenneth Williamson.

Firefighters who were training on the company's property noticed a liquid spilling from the back of a truck, Williamson said.

Ammonium hydroxide is a colourless liquid, which — in its concentrated form — can cause burns with skin contact.

Fire crews are not sure how much liquid was in the container. However, Williamson said, Wednesday's warm temperatures helped the liquid to evaporate quickly without forming pools or puddles.

The three employees were decontaminated and then sent to Clark Regional Medical Center. One of the employees complained of a headache, Williamson said.

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