ISKANDAR PUTERI, May 28 — The Johor Department of Environment (DoE) is monitoring the air quality at a residential area for possible harmful fumes after a fire involving a nearby paint factory broke out in Taman Perindustrian Datuk Yunus Sulaiman in Lima Kedai here yesterday.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said DoE personnel were tasked with monitoring the air quality in the area around the factory from 12.30am to 8am today.

As a precaution, he said the monitoring was carried out in the nearby residential area of ​​Jalan Bahagia 1 which is located about 300 metres away from the paint factory.

“Additional monitoring of the air quality was also carried out in front of the SJKC Ping Ming vernacular school that is located about 500 metres from the incident site,” he said in a statement.

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Ling was responding to the possibility of harmful fumes emitting from the burnt paint factory in Taman Perindustrian Datuk Yunus Sulaiman here yesterday.

The paint factory contained various flammable paint solvents and chemicals that were harmful.

Ling, popularly known as Ah Soon, said initial checks on the Jalan Bahagia 1 residential area revealed that there was a chemical-like odour in the air.

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A Johor Department of Environment enforcement officer monitoring the air quality at SJKC Ping Ming vernacular school that is located about 500 metres from the burnt paint factory in Taman Perindustrian Datuk Yunos Sulaiman at Lima Kedai in Iskandar Puteri May 28, 2024. – Picture courtesy of Ling Tian Soon
A Johor Department of Environment enforcement officer monitoring the air quality at SJKC Ping Ming vernacular school that is located about 500 metres from the burnt paint factory in Taman Perindustrian Datuk Yunos Sulaiman at Lima Kedai in Iskandar Puteri May 28, 2024. – Picture courtesy of Ling Tian Soon

“However, the air monitoring reading was satisfactory with no odour exceeding AEGL 1.

“Monitoring in front of SJKC Ping Ming school also did not detect any odour and the air quality also showed no pollution,” said the Yong Peng assemblyman.

AEGL stands for Acute Exposure Level Guidelines and is used globally to help emergency responders measure the amount of chemicals released in the air, usually during chemical spills or other catastrophic events that could negatively affect the public’s health.

Yesterday, 50 firemen from five fire stations managed to control and extinguish the paint factory blaze that involved seven building units.

The 6.30pm fire did not involve any casualties.

A representative of home owners in the area Salamian Surip said the residents need to be prepared to move out immediately to ensure their safety if air pollution is detected.

He said Kota Iskandar assemblyman Datuk Pandak Ahmad had discussed with the Iskandar Puteri City Council on the possible evacuation of residents if dangerous fumes were detected from the burnt site.

“Therefore, I urge for all residents to be prepared in the event that they have to leave their homes to a safer location,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.

There are about 2,000 residents who are at risk of being affected if there are harmful fumes emitted from the burnt factory.