Residents evacuated following huge LNG spill

Updated: 2006-12-05 20:31

SHENYANG -- Hundreds of residents were evacuated after a huge spill of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Fushun City in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Workers from 15 nearby factories were told to vacate the premises, and two primary schools had to interrupt classes, local government sources said on Tuesday.

The accident occurred around 6:30 a.m. Monday when about 100 tons of LNG leaked from a tank belonging to Fushun LNG Company Ltd. in Dongzhou District, according to Jiang Yonghe, director of the Fushun City Fire Fighting Bureau.

The people evacuated have now gone back home and school classes resumed on Tuesday, an emergency official with Fushun City government told Xinhua.

The Fushun LNG company has been ordered to halt production for safety concerns, the official said.

No serious casualties were reported in the accident, but a company worker suffered frostbite in the leg while attempting to cap the leakage in the bitterly cold weather, according to the company.

Initial investigation showed that an operator on duty failed to shut off a tank valve which had been opened for dehydration and had frozen in the cold weather.

More than 300 firefighters and policemen were called to help control the leakage and evacuate residents.

"The LNG combined with the air to form a 30,000-cubic-meter cloud of poisonous white fumes shrouding the area," said Jiang, adding that the evacuation began immediately after the leak.

All the surrounding buildings would be flattened in case of an explosion, according to a firefighter.

All rail services nearby were stopped and roads closed off to prevent a possible blast, said Xu Bo, head of Dongzhou District.

The leaking valve was closed around 8:00 a.m Monday.

Power and heating supplies, which were cut off in nearby factories and households due to the accident, also returned to normal on Tuesday.

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