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Ammonia leak poisons

(Global Times)

10:16, October 24, 2012

Twenty-six people remained in hospital Tuesday in the city of Honghu, Central China's Hubei Province, after an ammonia gas leak at an aquaculture company poisoned 479 people late Monday night, the China News Service reported Tuesday.

Some 1,000 people were evacuated from the area after the leak in Deyan Aquaculture Company around 11 pm Monday night, firefighters who joined the rescue were quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying.

Three of those who remained in hospital were suffering from severe poisoning. Hundreds of people were treated and released from five area hospitals.

Local authorities said a firefighter named Ji Junsong was the most severely poisoned.

Local police in Honghu received a call Monday night that ammonia gas used by the company as a refrigerating agent had leaked.

A large-scale evacuation of a neighborhood was immediately ordered.

A worker surnamed Li, who lives in company housing with his family, said the evacuation was rushed and caused some of his coworkers to fall.

The firefighting officers told Xinhua the leakage had been controlled, and the concentration of ammonia in the air had been declared safe.

The company's operations were restarted late Tuesday, after a suspension ordered by local authorities was lifted, the local news portal cnhubei.com reported.

Lu Deyan, owner of the company, said the decision to return to work was not compulsory, as some workers were still showing signs of stress.

The cause of the investigation was ongoing as of late Tuesday.

Global Times - Agencies
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