Parañaque ice plant reports ammonia leak, no one hurt

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2021 06:30 PM | Updated as of May 13 2021 09:48 PM

Parañaque ice plant reports ammonia leak, no one hurt 1
Photo courtesy of Wheng Hidalgo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE)— An ice plant in Parañaque City reported an apparent ammonia leak Thursday but was immediately contained and left no one hurt, authorities and the facility's management said.

The BFP said the Parañaque Tube Ice Inc. ice plant in Barangay San Dionisio has suspended operations due to the chemical leak, while authorities also controlled the stench of ammonia.

In a statement, the ice plant said the leak was readily contained and that no one was hurt. 

“The said chemical leak has been immediately contained and the plant manager confirmed that no one was hurt prior, upon, post-containment. We will assure the community that we will take necessary actions to prevent this unfortunate incident from happening again," it said.

The BFP received calls regarding a foul smell near the plant past 4 p.m., as employees evacuated the factory, arson investigator Giovannie Corbes said. 

Some employees reported eyes and nose irritation due to the leak, with occasional chest pains. 

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According to initial investigation, some employees noticed a weaker pressure in the ice machine in the afternoon, until it eventually stopped working. 

When they opened the machine to check what happened, they said that was when the ammonia leaked.

The machine operator supposedly closed the valve where the ammonia's smell was coming from, and that was also when the plant's operation got suspended. 

Firefighters who responded to the scene reported that a loose screw in the pipe connection was the source of the leak, based on the initial investigation. 

The leak was contained around 6 p.m. 

Liquid ammonia is used as a refrigerant or coolant for manufacturing purified tube ice.

It is also called anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used in small amounts as a restorative for fainting or headaches, but may cause similar symptoms when people are exposed directly to large concentrations. 

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Direct contact can cause irritation at the least or may burn body parts in the event of high exposure.

In early February, an ammonia leak from a cold storage facility in Navotas City killed 2, injured at least 60 others, and prompted evacuation in the surrounding community. 

The 2 fatalities, both workers in the ice plant, died after the ammonia tank used in the facility exploded. 

- Reports from Wheng Hidalgo, ABS-CBN News