by Anesta Henry
Residents of the Pine, St Michael and surrounding areas have praised the quick action taken by emergency personnel to handle the chemical leak at the Pine Hill Dairy (PHD) plant, which occurred on Saturday.
When Barbados TODAY visited some communities on Sunday, residents said they were happy that the situation was not worse.
“At first when I heard I was a little frightened because all of we living close to the factory. But then when I went out and look and heard the reports on the news I was happy that it was nothing to put anybody life in danger,” said Monica, who lives at St Barnabas.
Meanwhile, a shopkeeper, who declined to disclose his name, said he too was happy the leak was brought under control. He noted that business at his bar was not interrupted.
On Saturday, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman said police were alerted to an ammonia leak at the plant just after 5 p.m.
Police, the Barbados Fire Service, personnel from the Environmental Protection Department and PHD responded to the incident and the all clear was issued just before 9 p.m.
A statement from PHD issued on Sunday said that investigations so far have revealed that the gas leak was caused by a rupture in one of the pipes serving the refrigeration unit.
“Once the leak was discovered, all employees were immediately evacuated, and there were no injuries,”
“Preliminary reports also indicate that the impact on the residents of the surrounding communities was minimal,” Public Relations and Communications Officer Keisha Chapman said in the statement.
The company added that as a precautionary measure, the refrigeration unit would remain inactive until investigations are concluded, and the necessary repairs are completed.
Pine Hill Dairy also assured the public that the quality of its products was not compromised during the gas leak.