Sharjah: Authorities are looking for a man who sold a chlorine gas cylinder to a scrap company where a gas leak occurred in Al Sajja Industrial Area in Sharjah, killing one person and sending 93 others to hospital on Saturday, police told Gulf News.
The deceased, a Pakistani national, breathed his last in Al Qasimi Hospital shortly after being admitted.
Acting swiftly, Sharjah Police and Civil Defence units were able to rescue 93 workers who were exposed to the toxic fumes. The victims, aged 24 to 38, are from India and Pakistan.
According to police, the Operations Room received a call at 12.55am on Saturday with information that a gas leak had occurred inside a labour accommodation in the industrial area. The authorities rushed to the site with Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bayat, director of Sharjah Police Operations, Brigadier Dr Khalifa Kalendar, director of police comprehensive stations, and Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director of Sharjah Civil Defence, spearheading the rescue operation.
Many of the workers who were exposed to the toxic fumes complained of uneasiness and breathing difficulties, police said, adding they were taken to Kuwait Hospital and Al Qasimi Hospital. All except one of the workers were discharged soon after.
Dr Eisa Al Moa’almi, head of the emergency department at Kuwait Hospital, told Gulf News that the hospital received 16 workers after the incident. One worker had to be admitted, but his condition had since improved, he added.
Al Qasimi Hospital received more than 50 workers early on Saturday, but all the workers were discharged after receiving treatment.
Sharjah Police with the help of environment authorities disposed of the gas cylinder as a precaution to prevent any further gas leak. The incident is believed to have been caused by illegal cutting of the cylinders to be sold as scrap.
Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director general of Sharjah Civil Defence, told Gulf News, “Initial investigations found the leak occurred as the cylinder valve was left open.” The authorities closed the valve when they reached the site.
Sharjah Municipality and Ministry of Environment and Water are investigating the damage caused to the environment due to the gas leak.
Police are also questioning the owner and staff of the workshop to determine the source of the cylinder, which was the only one that contained chlorine gas.
Sharjah Police have also urged those transporting hazardous material and scrap to comply with applicable environmental requirements and safety regulations.