A technical glitch in the refrigeration unit attached to the two styrene tanks at a chemical plant near here caused the vapour leak that killed 11 people and affected around 1,000 on Thursday, a senior district official said quoting a preliminary report. The leak at the LG Polymers Limited was so intense that a "only around 9. 30 am could we understand what exactly it was as the thick fog that formed in the area cleared," District Collector V Vinay Chand said.
"Styrene monomer is normally in a liquid state and is safe below a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. But, because of the malfunctioning of the refrigeration unit, the chemical started gasifying," he said, quoting the preliminary report submitted by the Factories Department.
He further said that the technical glitch caused the temperature in the chemical storage tank to rise above the safety level of 20 degrees, leading to gasification and consequent evaporation of styrene.
At least 10 people, including one child, were dead after a gas leakage was reported from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam early on Thursday. More than 1,000 others were taken to the hospital after they complained of health issues following the gas leak, reported at the LG Polymers industry in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam.