Icepak Tamahere – accident waiting to happen


The devastating fire at Icepak’s Tamahere coolstores exposed shortcomings in the system of certifying the safety of plants which use dangerous gases, reported the NZ Herald on May 10.

Firefighters fought the blaze day and night

Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) was unaware the Tamahere plant had twice the amount of highly flammable propane LPG on site without having had the required safety inspections, wrote Phil Taylor in a lengthy feature.

The firemen who attended an emergency alarm on Saturday April 5 did not know propane was on site. Nor did the Waikato District Council.

Firefighter Derek Lovell was killed and seven colleagues injured when the plant suddenly erupted into a fireball.

Who knew what and when are part of the various investigations under way, as is whether Icepak fulfilled its obligations when it changed from non-flammable freon gas as its refrigerant to propane.

Also under scrutiny is New Zealand’s regime for ensuring the safe use of flammable gases.

Coolstore: accident waiting to happenclick here for the full story.

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