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Response to NZFS Icepak fire report

Hychill Australia response to NZFS Icepak fire report

Media Release - 24 Sept 08

In response to the release of the NZ Fire Service report “Inquiry into the Explosion and Fire at Icepak Coolstores, Tamahere, on 5 April 2008”, Hychill Australia Managing Director Mr John Clark made the following comments:

“Hychill welcomes the report of the New Zealand Fire Service into the Icepak fire at Tamahere on 5 April 2008. The document appears to provide an extensive and informative assessment of the incident that will be of value in preventing similar fires in future by ensuring regulatory requirements are better understood and clarified.

“However, it is unclear to us why no stenching agent was evident in the leaking Hychill Minus 50 refrigerant. All Hychill refrigerant products are odourised, as required by the standard AS/NZS 1677, with ethyl mercaptan and, in normal use, are able to be smelt at levels far below a flammable concentration. This is the same odourant as used in LPG and natural gas and the odour should have been very familiar to anyone who has used hydrocarbon gases.

“There is no doubt that the refrigerant that was in use at Icepak was odourised when it was put into the refrigeration system. We are concerned that the fire-fighters were unable to detect the odour in spite of the apparently large leak and would like to know why. It is very important to learn all that can be learned from this tragic incident.

“Hychill will continue to work with all relevant agencies to ensure that hydrocarbons can continue to fulfil their role as climate friendly refrigerant solutions while maintaining appropriate safety standards as set out in AS/NZS 1677."


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