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Ammonia spill injures 10, over 200 evacuated
By Zhu Yuzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-31 00:58

A total of 10 people, including one fireman, passed out after ammonia spilled at a food and beverage factory in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on Sunday.

None of the injuries were serious.

The ammonia spilled from a burst container in the Southwest food and beverage factory as several workers dismantled old equipment around 3 pm.

The spilled ammonia soon gathered into smoke and spread through the whole factory, blurring rooms and resulting in sore eyes and fainting among the workers.

Ammonia-laden smoke quickly covered neighbouring areas, causing sickness, vomiting and weakness among local residents.

More than 200 residents living nearby were evacuated, according to local media reports.

Firefighters used water to dilute the ammonia at the factory.

Shortly after 5 pm, firefighters removed the container and released the rest of the ammonia. The container was empty two hours later.

Investigation indicated that inappropriate operation was blamed for the spill as workers did not correctly dismantle the equipment.

This was the second such incident in the same factory in four days. Nobody was injured in a similar incident on August 26.

According to a local source, a recycling company was responsible for the recycling of the factory's old equipment after it was shut down by the local government earlier this year.

The recycling company was forced to suspend operations by the local work safety authorities on August 27, but the factory then resumed work on themselves without permission.

Local media reports said that the related authorities have already started investigation on the responsible persons and pledged for serious punishment on the factory.

There were several similar incidents in China over the past month.

On August 2, an ammonia spill in Zhangzhou City of East China's Fujian Province killed one and injured 29.

Another accident of ammonia spill in Dalian City in North China's Liaoning Province claimed two lives and hurt 16 on August 25.

And on the same day in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, more than 300 local residents were evacuated due to an ammonia spill and more than 150 people were sent to hospital.

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