KARACHI-Twenty-nine women and children fell unconscious and had to be taken to hospitals after leakage of ammonia gas in a factory at fisheries, according to the area police, hospital sources and rescue services.
Officials at the Dock police station citing preliminary inquiry report said that ammonia gas started emitting from a leaked pipe at a private seafood company at fisheries, within the West Wharf area.
The gas engulfed the neighbourhood affecting 29 women and children, who fell unconscious after inhaling it, they said. According to them, 14 women were taken to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi and 15 other women and children to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for treatment. The police said company’s engineers went to the factory and started repair of the pipe and plug the leakage.
Docks SHO Pervez Solangi, commenting on some rumours, denied any cylinder explosion having occurred at the factory, and said it was indeed a gas leak that affected the victims. He said no one was detained for interrogation. Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said that 19 affected persons were brought to the civil hospital for treatment.
According to details, emergency has been imposed in adjoining areas of the factory in Karachi’s Fish Harbour area after an ammonia gas cylinder exploded in a food factory, leaving several persons including employees unconscious and affected. Police told the media that several employees of the factory fell unconscious and others are affected. Ammonia gas exposure may cause immediate burning of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract and result in blindness, lung damage or death.
After the explosion, the ammonia gas spread to other parts of the area. Rescue institutions have been summoned to the scene. Police said that 19 employees including women of the factory got affected and shifted to the hospital. The factory has been vacated after the incident and other measures are being taken to prevent other people from being exposed to the toxic gas.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took notice of the cylinder blast at a food factory in Karachi and sought report from the commissioner and the labour minister.
The Sindh CM’s spokesperson said that 11 women were shifted to the hospital in critical condition after the toxic gas spread in the food factory. The chief minister directed authorities to provide maximum facilities to the affected people. The CM ordered the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) officials to immediately inspect the food factory. He directed to sealing the food factory if more inoperative gas cylinders are found there.
In February 2020, at least 14 persons had lost their lives and dozens were sickened after a toxic gas leak in Karachi’s Keamari area while the residents from adjoining areas complained of having breathing difficulties for many days.