Investigating the Challenges of Ammonia Emission in Firuzabad Sodium Carbonate Factory Incident: A Case Study

Article Type:
Case Study (دارای رتبه معتبر)

An ammonia gas explosion poses immediate health hazards such as respiratory tract burns, skin and eye irritation, and potential death within seconds. It also causes long-term negative impacts on biodiversity, affecting aquatic life and vegetation. An explosion in the Firuzabad sodium carbonate factory in Iran led to massive ammonia gas leakage and the poisoning of several employees. This study evaluates the risks of ammonia gas release caused by the explosion and the rescue team’s response in the same factory.

Materials and Methods

This study was conducted in 2020 in Firuzabad City, Iran. The investigation was based on case reports and data analysis obtained via field observations, document reviews, interviews, and experiments. Technical and specialized information on explosion were analyzed by ALOHA software.


Based on data analysis, red, orange, and yellow zones around the explosion area were identified. The red zone had an ammonia emission range of 1.2 km with an explosive power of 10 kW, causing potential death in 60 seconds. Orange zone had a range of about 1.7 km, an explosive power of 5 kW, and the potential for second-degree burns and respiratory damage within 60 seconds of release. The yellow zone covered an area of about 3.3 km. Interviews and field observations provided information on the risk-based response process, response equipment, medical treatment, hazardous materials, handling and response equipment, personal protective equipment, mutual aid, and resource typing.


The results of this study show that the immediate evacuation of the area, employment of the rapid warning system, the triage of the injured, the presence of an emergency operation plan to control hazardous and toxic materials disasters, the performance of the rapid response team and multi-specialty teams were among the existing challenges of the operation team. Background of this study confirms the potential hazards associated with ammonia gas emissions from explosions in sodium carbonate plants.

Health in Emergencies and Disasters Quarterly, Volume:9 Issue: 1, Autumn 2024
61 to 67  
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