Report on White Helmets Response to an Explosion at an Out-Of-Service Ice Factory in Idlib City
Local residents explained to our teams that the factory owner was in the process of relocating production equipment within the ice factory. Among the items being moved were cylinders containing ammonia gas (NH3), utilized as a thermal agent for cooling purposes in such facilities.
Our teams received a report regarding an explosion of unknown origin and the spread of an odor at precisely 8:05 pm on Saturday, August 19, 2023, in the vicinity of Al-Jalaa Street, near the entrance of the vegetable market in the city of Idlib. Three units from The White Helmets, comprising search and rescue, ambulance, and firefighting teams, were dispatched to the scene to address the explosion.
Upon arrival, local residents informed our teams that the blast had originated within an old out-of-service ice-making factory. As the search and rescue team entered the nearly abandoned premises, they discovered the presence of three cylinders, one of which was emitting a gas with an acrid odor.
Firefighting teams employed water sprays to counteract the impact of the leaked gas until White Helmets hazardous materials response team arrived. The ambulance team administered first aid to four civilians who exhibited symptoms of suffocation and shortness of breath. These individuals were subsequently transported to Idlib University Hospital for further medical attention. Local residents attended to four other civilians, who, after receiving treatment, were deemed fit to be discharged from the hospital in good health.
Specialized members of the White Helmets Hazardous Materials Response Team arrived at the explosion site, following established protocols to effectively managing the situation, sealing the cylinder, halting the gas leakage, and securing the area.
The local residents explained to our teams that the factory owner was in the process of relocating production equipment within the ice factory. Among the items being moved were cylinders containing ammonia gas (NH3), utilized as a thermal agent for cooling purposes in such facilities. Unfortunately, during the course of transportation, one of the cylinder's valves came into contact with another old and corroded valve. This collision resulted in an explosion and subsequent leakage of gas.