A farming accident caused up to 600 gallons of anhydrous ammonia to be spilled in a field on the north edge of Morris Monday night, prompting authorities to evacuate a portion of the community.
According to Morris Police Chief Jim Beauregard, at about 10 p.m., a farmer reported that while he was applying anhydrous to a field just north of Morris a hose broke and the chemical spilled. The spill resulted in a plume of gas which was slowly traveling east.
Beauregard noted that there was no wind to disperse the ammonia cloud, so authorities closed roads and evacuated approximately 250 people form homes and businesses in the northeast section of town.
Beauregard said that buses took many residents to the Regional Fitness Center on the University of Minnesota, Morris campus.
Beauregard says that it took about three hours for the plume to disperse enough to allow residents back into their homes. No injuries were reported as a result of the spill or the evacuation.
Beauregard said that many agencies assisted in the response to this incident, including the Morris Fire Department, Stevens County Law Enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and a Haz-Mat team from West Central Environmental Consultants.