Crime - Sacto 911

Hazardous leak at company on Aerojet campus is contained

A small chemical leak at a chemical company on the Aerojet Rocketdyne campus in Rancho Cordova was contained Tuesday night.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews were called about 10 p.m. to AMPAC Fine Chemicals at Aerojet, which is along Folsom Boulevard between Rancho Cordova and Folsom. Firefighters found a leaking cylinder in a remote location on the Aerojet grounds.

The cylinder was leaking anhydrous hydrogen bromide. The chemical is described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association as a colorless gas with an irritating odor. Long-term breathing exposure to low concentrations or short-term breathing exposure to high concentrations can result in adverse health effects, including severe irritation of nose and upper respiratory tract.

Anhydrous hydrogen bromide is said to be used to make other chemicals, according to a NOAA chemical data sheet.

Working with AMPAC and Aerojet, firefighter hazardous material members donned special safety gear and entered the “hot zone” to try to fix the leaking cylinder, according to a Metro Fire press release.

Unable to cap the leak, the cylinder was instead moved by truck to an isolated building that was equipped with a chemical filter. The leak was contained inside the building, allowing evacuations of the Aerojet campus to be lifted.

The cylinder will be placed in a secure container to be transported off-site and destroyed, firefighters said Tuesday night. The forklift and truck used to move the cylinder were to be cleaned to remove any lingering chemical.

AMPAC, a U.S.-based manufacturer of pharmaceutical fine chemicals, announced in March that it was expanding its facilities in Rancho Cordova and Texas. The company uses advanced technology to provide products for customers, which include multinational pharmaceutical companies.

“We provide strict confidentiality, safety, environmental compliance and a reliable supply of high-quality products,” according to the company’s website.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews