The incident occurred June 18. A water tank collapsed, severing an ammonia line and knocking out power to some areas of the facility. More than 2,000 workers evacuated the plant, and at least seven individuals required medical treatment for their exposure to ammonia. Smithfield sent workers home and canceled the second shift.
Smithfield's Tar Heel plant is the largest pork-processing facility in the United States with an estimated slaughtering capacity of up to 34,000 hogs per day.