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Ammonia leak at ice plant kills 2, leaves 90 sick in the Philippines

08 February 2021

An ammonia leak at an ice plant in the city of Navotas near Manila killed two people on February 3 and left 90 others inured or sick. The surrounding area was evacuated with hundreds of nearby residents transported away after employees fell ill at the TP Marcelo Ice Plant.

Navotas - Image: Wikimedia/User: Patrickroque01
Navotas - Image: Wikimedia/User: Patrickroque01

An employee at the plant died after being exposed to ammonia fumes while an electrician at the plant was found dead in the factory a day later on February 4 after the building had been made safe. Ammonia can be used as a refrigerant and is highly toxic if inhaled.

Of the 90 employees and residents who fell ill following the leak, 20 remained in hospital with breathing difficulties and other illnesses as of February 7.

The area surrounding the TP Marcelo plant was evacuated after fumes were smelt by employees. Several hundred locals were able to return to their homes after a few hours.

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco told reporters that an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the leak. Tiangco said investigators had not yet determined whether the leak was caused by a pipe or by a tank explosion. He added that the company, which is part-owned by his Mother, would pay for all medical bills.

The TP Marcelo plant will remain closed while the investigation continues.

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