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UPL Warehouse Fire Spewed Dangerous Chemicals in South Africa, Report Says

  • Fire at Durban warehouse was caused by looting, arson
  • Hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide among gases released
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A fire at a South African warehouse used by UPL Ltd., the world’s fifth-biggest agrochemicals company, released a range of harmful chemicals across a wide area, according to a report released by the provincial government.

On July 13, looters set the warehouse in the southeastern city of Durban on fire, causing a chemical spill that resulted in a significant fish die-off, the closing of beaches, and complaints from residents about air pollution. South Africa’s Environment Ministry has said UPL didn’t have the appropriate permits to store the chemicals and, along with the owners of the land where the warehouse is situated, may be liable for criminal prosecution. UPL has refuted the allegations.