Gas leak forces staff at Hulamin to evacuate complex

2014-10-10 00:00

A RED tape blocked the entrance of the Hulamin complex yesterday after the plant was evacuated when a gas leak on the premises threatened the lives of its workers.

Staff were rushed out of the plant and into the parking grounds alongside the building after a tanker carrying highly flammable Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) developed a leak within the premises.

According to Craig February of the Pietermaritzburg Fire Department, the facility was evacuated as a precaution while a technician fixed the leak on the truck.

“We are lucky that the technician was able to mitigate the leak in time. If he had failed, we would have had to start a controlled release of the LPG into the atmosphere, which would have closed down the plant for hours,” he said.

February said a small flame or other ignition source could have resulted in a catastrophic explosion because the truck was in an area surrounded by other LPG canisters.

As the drama played out, Hulamin workers milled around in the parking lot, chatting among themselves in the drizzle, waiting to return to their duties.

Hulamin offered little detail about the incident, only confirming that it had taken place and that no one was harmed. “Everything is back to normal now,” Noma Kanyile, Hulamin’s communications manager, said later.


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