2 dead in ammonia leak at ice plant owned by Tiangcos

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    TWO workers died and nearly a hundred other workers and residents were hospitalized due to an ammonia leak at an ice plant owned by the mother of Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco and her sisters on Wednesday afternoon.

    Tiangco said one of the fatalities, Gilbert Tiangco, 44, died at a hospital where he was rushed after being exposed to the ammonia. Tiangco said the victim could be a distant relative of his family.

    The body of the second fatality, Joselito Jazareno, 54, was found by authorities during a search of the facility, TP Marcelo Ice Plan and Cold Storage, yesterday morning.

    “Based on the initial investigation, he was found near the surge tank that exploded,” Tiangco said, referring to to Jazareno.

    Tiangco said the ice plant is owned by his mother, who is now in her 70s, and her sisters. The plant, built decades ago, was inherited by his mother and her siblings from their parents.

    Tiangco said the Bureau of Fire Protection is conducting further investigation to determine the circumstances of the incident that left 96 people hospitalized. Many of them were still confined as yesterday morning.

    On behalf of his mother, Tiango apologized for the accident and said “all the medical expenses of the affected families will be shouldered by the company.” He also said the city government will extend counseling to people traumatized by the incident.

    Residents near the ice plant were ordered to evacuate when the ammonia leaked.

    Tiangco has issued a closure order against the ice plant, saying it will remain closed until it is determined that is safe to operate anew.

    Tiangco said his mother is not actively attending to the day-to-day operation of the ice plan given her age.

    He said penalties would be imposed to any ice plant officials if they are found to be at fault.