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Fear, physical distress in 911 calls after ammonia leak

May 1, 2019

BEACH PARK, Ill. (AP) — An ammonia leak in suburban Chicago triggered a flood of 911 calls from people — some gasping for air — as they frantically reported the fumes that sickened more than three dozen people.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office released three of hundreds of calls made last Thursday shortly after ammonia leaked from tanks being towed by a tractor through Beach Park, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of downtown Chicago.

The Lake County News-Sun reported Wednesday that one female caller can be heard gasping and coughing as she begs the dispatcher to send help and alert motorists not to drive through the area that was engulfed in a toxic cloud.

A total of 37 people became sick.

The recordings were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.