Two dozen employees of a strawberry processing plant in northern Merced County were rushed to area hospitals Thursday after an apparent ammonia spill.
About 1 to 2 gallons of liquid ammonia spilled, apparently from a refrigeration unit inside the plant in Ballico operated by Sierra Cascade Nursery, officials said.
About 475 employees evacuated the building after the spill. At least 19 of the 24 workers taken to area hospitals were discharged later in the day, according to Steve Fortin, president and chief of operations of Sierra Cascade.
The severity of possible exposure to the chemical remained unclear Thursday.