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South Korea dairy plant explosion kills one, injures three

14 February 2014

An explosion in an ammonia tank pipeline at a dairy and ice cream production and storage plant resulted in one death and three injuries, local emergency services said on February 13. According to Yonhap, the explosion took place at a plant owned by Binggrae Co. in Namyangju and caused at least 1.5 tons of ammonia be released into the environment.

Stock image
Stock image

"Emergency efforts to contain the explosion and the subsequent leak of the chemical compound by the fire department and the military produced limited results," one official at the site located just east of Seoul said.

Rescue workers said a 55-year-old worker was crushed to death when the explosion caused a building to collapse. He was found five hours after the explosion took place, with the search being delayed by smoke and concerns of secondary explosions.

Three other workers near the tank have been evacuated to a hospital. Some suffered broken limbs although doctors claimed the injuries were not life threatening. Ammonia was being used as a refrigerant for ice cream and other food products at the plant.

Some residents living close to the plant were evacuated to a hospital after experiencing physical discomfort.

Emergency workers are carrying out cleanup efforts, with investigators trying to determine why the tank exploded. Initially officials said the old pipes may be responsible.

"We are checking if workers and managers followed safety guidelines," one official told Yonhap.

The plant opened in 1979 covers 30,446 square metres, with most of the space being used as cold storage facility.

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