Three women were taken to hospital Thursday afternoon after an ammonia leak at a meatpacking plant in southeast Calgary.

More than 75 people were ordered out of the Centennial Packers facility on Brandon Street SE, with seven needing assessment by paramedics, said Calgary Emergency Medical Services.

The women, in their 30s and 40s, are in stable condition.

Reports indicated that a maintenance person accidentally caused a small discharge of ammonia, said fire department spokesman Jeff Budai.

Fire crews ventilated the building, which was deemed safe to enter after about two hours.

Exposure to high levels of the gas can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs, while high concentrations can lead to lung damage and death.