Ammonia Leak from Ice Factory in Chonburi

CHONBURI, An ammonia leak from an ice factory startled and affected local residents late last night (April 17) in Chonburi province.

The leak resulted in residents experiencing eye irritation, nasal irritation, vomiting, and some even losing consciousness.

The incident occurred before midnight when ammonia from the ice factory in Bang Lamung district leaked out, spreading chemical fumes over an area of more than 1 kilometer. Authorities rushed to the scene to control the situation.

Officials promptly evacuated residents from the area and provided preliminary medical assistance before transferring them to hospitals.

Initial reports indicate that 141 residents were affected, with 3 classified as red level, 9 as yellow level, and 129 as green level.

Following the incident, the district chief of Bang Lamung, Weekit Manarojkit, stated that officials had successfully closed all leaking ammonia valves.

Affected residents were promptly transported to hospitals, with temporary shelters set up nearby for those wi
th less severe symptoms.

Subsequently, chief of the Chonburi Provincial Police Pol. Maj. Gen. Thawatkiart Jindakwuansanong, along with factory management and relevant officials, inspected the facility. Firefighters continued to spray water while controlling the ammonia odor. Initial inspections within the ice factory revealed no evidence of explosion.

Factory manager Boonanan Patthanasin stated that after thorough inspection, no signs of explosion or fire were found. However, detailed checks on the ammonia leakage points would be conducted to determine the exact source of the leak.

He apologized, explaining that the incident may have occurred due to employees’ oversight in not properly closing the system, leading to the leakage affecting nearby residents. He confirmed that ammonia cannot explode unless ignited, and the incident was indeed a genuine leakage. The factory will take full responsibility and care for all affected individuals.

Around 3 a.m. on Thursday, the Pattaya Rescue Facebook page posted an
update stating that the situation at the ice factory had returned to normal, and residents could return to their homes.

Chief of the Chonburi Provincial Industry Office Angsumalin Chadsuwanwari, ordered the temporary closure of the factory for maintenance and repairs.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the leak may have originated from a damaged pipe within the ice production system, necessitating further detailed examination. If the corrective measures meet safety standards, operations will be allowed to resume.

To prevent similar incidents in the future, comprehensive inspections and reports will be conducted, including the use of ammonia and refrigerants in factories, to prevent recurrence.

According to the Department of Industrial Works, Thailand currently has 1,865 ice factories operating under the Factory Act of 1992.

Source: Thai News Agency