AT least 16 people were rushed to the hospital after residents of two barangays were forced to evacuate their houses amid heavy rain following an ammonia leak in an ice plant Tuesday before dawn in Navotas City.
The Navotas City Police Tactical Operation Center (TOC) also received a report about the death of Edwin Dela Vina, 49, resident of Ilang-Ilang Street, Bgy. NBBS-Kaunlaran suffered difficulty breathing when a foul odor due to an ammonia leak occurred at around 2:50 a.m. at the Magsimpan Ice Plant and Cold Storage located along M. Naval St., Bgy. NBBS Kaunlaran, Navotas city.
However, the victim’s younger brother Ralph, 43, told police that Edwin, who was brought to Navotas City Hospital, was suffering from chronic heart enlargement.
According to the attending physician, his death was caused by Acute Coronary Syndrome.
Report reaching the office of Navotas Police Chief P/Col. Dexter Ollaging showed that while employees of Magsimpan Ice Plant were working in their respective areas, they noticed a strong ammonia scent.
This prompted them to leave the company premises and seek assistance from patrolling police officers onboard their mobile car.
The foul smell of ammonia reached Bgy. North Bay Boulevard South (NBBS) Kaunlaran and NBBS Proper prompted residents of the two barangays to go out of their houses, covering their mouths and noses.
Policemen and personnel of the Navotas Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) led by F/Insp. Pedrito Polo and three BFP fire trucks responded to the area to investigate and contain the ammonia leak.
The Navotas City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) reported that the ammonia leak was contained at around 4:00 a.m. while several people living around Magsimpan Ice Plant were rushed to a city-run hospital due to difficulty in breathing.
The city government of Navotas also ordered the temporary suspension of the operation of the ice plant to ensure the safety of all its employees and residents around the area.
The Magsimpan Ice Plant has been operational for at least ten years, and despite constant safety checks being carried out by the Navotas City government and Navotas BFP, the company already recorded an ammonia leak twice last year, and the latest happened this Tuesday before dawn.
The Navotas City Health Office said the liquid ammonia, used as refrigerant or coolant for manufacturing purified tube ice, is dangerous to people exposed to large concentrations.
Complications such as blindness, drying of the throat, and difficulty in breathing may result in death.