Jasin factory ammonia gas leak forces evacuation of 120 students

The students were evacuated after the ammonia gas leak at a nearby chicken-processing factory in Jasin. (Bernama pic)

JASIN: A total of 120 students from Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Paya Redan were ordered to evacuate the school premises today following an ammonia gas leak at a nearby chicken processing factory late this morning.

Melaka state education director Abu Bakar Sahari said parents of the affected students were told to fetch their children from school after the Fire and Rescue Department notified the school of the incident and ordered an immediate evacuation.

The factory is located just 1.5km from the school.

“At 12.30pm, we were informed about the incident near SK Paya Redan. Following this, at the request of the Fire and Rescue Department, parents were asked to take their children home,” he said in a statement here today.

Meanwhile, nine of the factory workers, including six women, were sent to the Jasin Hospital for further treatment after suffering breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling ammonia fumes, believed to be due to a broken pipe.

A Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said they received a distress call at 11.42am and a team from the Hazardous Material Unit (Hazmat), including the operation commander, rushed to the scene.

“They are still at the location and are conducting inspections on the leak.

“All of the factory workers have been asked to vacate the factory premises as well,” he said.

3 schools closed

Later at night, it was reported that three schools in Merlimau,  near the chicken processing farm, had been ordered to close tomorrow (Wednesday) with Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) candidates moved to two new examination centres.

Melaka education director Abu Bakar Sahari said the three schools are Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Paya Redan, SK Serkam Darat and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Ladang Serkam.

Twenty UPSR candidates from SK Paya Redan would be housed at the SK Paya Dalam examination centre, while a new examination centre had been opened at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sri Mahkota to house 79 candidates from SK Serkam Darat and six candidates from SJKT Ladang Serkam.

The change in examination centres would be maintained until the end of the Year Six examination on Sept 12, said Bakar, adding that the remaining pupils in the affected schools located within a 3km radius of the farm had been instructed to stay at home as a safety precaution.