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Victims from ammonia leak identified

Police have release the name of a trucker from Oklahoma who died at a Rosemount fertilizer plant Monday evening after being exposed to anhydrous ammonia.

Robert Larry Shue, 31, of Kingfisher OK. died after a connection problem led to the leak at CF Industries, located near highways 55 and 52.

Another Oklamhoma man Roy Thomas Taylor, 56, of Moore, OK was injured during the incident as well and is being treated at Region's Hospital.

Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said rescue crews responded to the anhydrous ammonia leak in the semi-tank loader area at the plant at around 6 p.m. Both victims were loading their tankers when the incident occurred.

According to a press release from the Rosemount Police Department one of the men noticed a connection problem and attempted to correct it. There was then a break in the connection and a release of ammonia.

Kalstabakken said a CF employee acted quickly and shut down the loading station. Others in the facility at the time witnessed the incident and tried to aid the victims but the ammonia prevented them from helping.

After some of the ammonia had dissipated, police officers and witnesses were able to tend to the victims.

Rosemount police officer Scott Sandell and Dakota County Sheriff's deputy Matt Schuster pulled Taylor about 35 feet so he could be treated more safely. Taylor remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

While attending to the victims Sandell and Schuster were exposed to residue on the victims and surrounding area. Both were taken to Region's Hospital and monitored for a time. Kalstabakken said both have been released and cleared to return to work.

Taylor was washed down with water at the scene before being airlifted to the hospital.

A statement from CF Industries said the released ammonia does not present a hazard to Rosemount residents.

Shue died at the scene. The Dakota County Medical Examiner's office was on scene Monday night to investigate the cause of death.

Kalstabakken said OSHA was on scene Tuesday morning to begin its investigation.

In its statement the company stated that it is cooperating with officials to investigate the incident. Calls to the company were not returned.

CF Industries is one of the largest fertilizer producers in the North America. The company has facilities all over North America including the rural Rosemount location at 5300 Pine Bend Trail. The plant is located East of Rosemount in a rural part of the city.

The Pine Bend Ammonia Terminal, as it is known, receives ammonia via barge on the Mississippi River and rail on the Union Pacific line. It ships ammonia to customers by truck, according to the company's web site.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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