Update, 8:40 p.m.: BFD and BPD issued a Nixle alert around 7 p.m. saying that the incident at Bayer was over. “All ammonia readings back to zero,” it states. “No release to atmosphere. Property back under Bayer control. Incident terminated at approximately 6:30 p.m. No report on cause at this time.”
Original story: The Berkeley Fire Department was on scene at the Bayer HealthCare lab, at Parker and Seventh streets, due to a confirmed report that ammonia was released inside the building Thursday afternoon.
According to Nixle alerts put out by BFD and Berkeley Police around 5 p.m., the ammonia is not reported to have reached the atmosphere outside the building. BFD has not issued evacuation or shelter-in-place orders.
All employees are accounted for and there were no reported injuries or exposures. The Berkeley Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team worked with the Bayer Emergency Response Team to mitigate the incident.
BFD Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the call came at 3:46 p.m. She described the incident as a “hazmat assignment” and said eight pieces of equipment were on scene. “We monitored air outside building and confirmed no release to the exterior,” she said.
Bayer’s 45-acre West Berkeley facility is the company’s global biotechnology headquarters. It produces one of the leading recombinant FVIII therapies for the treatment of people living with hemophilia A.
McCracken said she couldn’t recall last time BFD was called out to Bayer for an emergency, but she said the department trains regularly with Bayer’s Emergency Response Team.
This is a developing story and was updated after publication.