The dangers faced by people from sudden flare-ups with potential for disaster were highlighted by the ammonia leak at Eluru last week.

It had sent the administration from Hyderabad and in the districts into a tizzy with an immediate solution evading them. Narrating the sequence of events on that night, Commissioner for Disaster Management T. Radha said at a workshop on climate risk management here on Tuesday that a call came from the Collector around 9:30 p.m. He immediately contacted an expert in National Disaster Management Agency, Dave, whose first instruction was that people should not move in the direction in which the gas was leaking.

Dr. Radha then spoke to the Additional Director General, Fire Services, and the HPCL where the gas was being transported without much avail. The driver of the tanker who should have some basic idea ran away fearing attack by residents for endangering them.

It was the common sense of a fire officer that saved the situation, Dr. Radha said. The fire officer directed the liquid-turned-gas into a drain nearby.

It took nearly two-and-a-half days for the gas to leak out.