The Ghana Utilities Manufacturing Company (GHUMCO) in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region has been closed down for failing to adhere to safety gas discharge protocols, resulting in a gas leakage Wednesday morning. According to workers of GHUMCO, at about 6:50 Wednesday morning, they heard a loud blast from where their tank farm is located. Before long, they saw their colleagues working at that section running helter-skelter amidst screams of a gas leakage. Due to past experiences, they also joined in and ran out of the compound. In an interview with 3news.com, Former Workers Union Chairman Charles Eshun explained that workers discharging gas from a tanker into their tank farm realized that the pressure level was low and prompted the driver’s mate. He added that the driver’s mate then proceeded to alter something at the back of the truck which increased the pressure level for the discharge. Mr. Eshun said the discharging hose got disconnected from the valves due to the pressure and started to emit gas into the air. Fortunately, he stated that safety protocols were activated to prevent any ignition while Ghana National Fire Service was called in. “So we had to run for our dear lives. Last year after a gas explosion here, we heard that our management agreed to discharge gas after working hours. “But gas is normally discharged during working hours. This morning we were working when the incident happened. So clearly there could have been a repeat of what happened two years ago if the situation had not been brought under control.” He pleaded with relevant government agencies to monitor happenings at the company to prevent avoidable loss of lives. Western Region Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service DO111 Emmanuel Bonney said following last year’s incident an agreement was reached that anytime there is to be a discharge, it should be in the presence of personnel from his outfit. “This has been the drill ever since. But we were not informed of this morning’s discharge. “We have scheduled a meeting with management of GHUMCO, the driver and the mate of the gas tanker. In the meantime, we have asked the company to close down today. As at now the NPA and the Ghana National Fire Service are going to close down the furnace. We will not allow anyone to work until we have dealt with everything.” The alarm of gas leakage left Sekondi-Takoradi residents in a state of fear and panic. This led to gridlock traffic on some major roads within the metropolis as drivers avoided the road in front of GHUMCO to prevent any possible ignition leading to an explosion. Two years ago, there was a gas explosion during a gas discharge at the company which left hundreds of residents with life-threatening burns.