Celso orders probe of ice plant mishap PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2012 14:34

Mayor Celso Lobregat has ordered a joint investigation of the gas leak incident in an ice plant in Ayala in the west coast that downed at least a hundred people and briefly displaced over 200 families Wednesday night.

Mayor Lobregat, who immediately proceeded to the scene after receiving the report, said most of the people rushed to various hospitals for nausea and breathing difficulty Wednesday night have been discharged as of Thursday morning.

The displaced families, with some 1,200 dependents who were briefly sheltered at the Ayala gymnasium returned to their homes around 4am Thursday or some 6 hours after ammonia gas leaked through a pipe at the ENL ice plant and cold storage during repair work.

Mayor Lobregat said the probe will be done by authorities from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (OCENR), City Agriculturist Office (CAO) and City Health Office (CHO).

Initial information revealed that personnel from the ice cold storage were carrying out repair work when allegedly one of the metal equipment fell on and ruptured a pipe resulting to the leakage, according to Mayor Lobregat.

The ammonia leakage rapidly spread through the community affecting the families residing thereat.

Mayor Lobregat said the probe team will have to come up with an independent assessment and findings and recommendations.

The plant supports the fishing operations of Leo Fishing Corporation, a fishing company.

Meanwhile, the mayor stayed up the whole night Wednesday to personally look at the situation at the plant, help provide the needs of the evacuees at the gymnasium and the medical needs of the victims at the hospital. Assisting the mayor in providing necessary interventions at the height of the incident were Councilor Rudy Lim, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Rey Gonzales, City Social Welfare Office and Development Personnel, City Health Office personnel, Ayala barangay officials and other staff.

Fire trucks were deployed to the area to douse the plant with water, said to be the only antidote for ammonia.

Since Lobregat left the plant early morning Thursday, the leaked pipe has been sealed and the plant is temporarily not operating. — Sheila Covarrubias