Nasik: Two people were killed and 17 others injured on Sunday, January 1, when a massive fire erupted after an explosion in a boiler at a chemical plant in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, officials said, citing sources. preliminary information as the fire raged for hours.
The state government decided to order a high-level investigation to identify the exact reason for the fire.
The explosion at the Jindal Poly Films factory, located in Mundhegaon along the Mumbai-Agra highway at Igatpuri taluka, was so powerful that it was heard in nearby villages. Fire and smoke were visible from afar. The incident happened around 11:30 a.m., officials said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the crash site, located about 30 kilometers from Nashik and 130 kilometers from Mumbai. He also met the injured admitted to a hospital in Nashik.
Even after nine o’clock, the fire is still raging. At least 20 to 22 firefighters are on scene, a Nashik police official said around 9 p.m.
“The fire at Jindal company was huge. The reason behind it is not yet known. A high-level investigation into the incident will be conducted. Nineteen employees were injured in the incident and two of them they lost their lives,” the chief minister said.
He said the next of kin of each deceased will receive Rs 5 lakh aid from the state government and the injured will receive free medical treatment.
Sources said the two people who died were women.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Shinde said Deolali air base (in Nashik district) will provide a helicopter for the rescue operation.
Later, a helicopter and army personnel reached the place. A police official said the rescue was not carried out using the helicopter because “the situation had changed”, but did not give details.
Fire and police personnel rushed to the scene to launch a rescue operation. They were joined by teams from the State Disaster Response Force.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 19 people had been rescued and 17 of them had been admitted to a private hospital for treatment.
A senior official said that it was the first day of the New Year, the number of workers present at the factory was less.
Officials said some workers were present at the chemical unit premises when the incident occurred.
Earlier in the day, Divisional Revenue Commissioner Radhhakrishna Game told reporters that an explosion had set fire to the chemical plant.
“Normally, 20 to 25 people work in the factory. But, as it was the first day of the New Year, the number was less on Sunday. As huge grass has grown on the scene and flammable materials are everywhere, our first objective is to control the fire. The exact reason for the fire has not yet been determined. It will take time,” Game added.
The chief minister also said that since it was an automatic factory, there were not many workers present at the time of the explosion.
“The government will make every effort for the rescue operations, there will be no loopholes,” he said.
Union State Health Minister Bharati Pawar, a native of Nashik, told reporters that at least 100 beds were ready in various hospitals including Nashik District Civil Hospital, SMBT Hospital and other medical facilities, as needed.
Although the exact cause of the fire is not known, a senior official said the fire did not appear to have been caused by a boiler, a senior official said.
“The three out of five boilers at Jindal Poly Films in Igatpuri recovered waste heat or ran on thermal fluid. It does not use any flammable materials to prepare the vapor.
“The remaining two boilers are small industrial boilers, which means there is a minimum chance that they will cause a fire inside the plant,” said Dhaval Antapurkar, director of the Directorate of Steam Boilers, a government body in Maharashtra, in a statement.
The deputy director of the department will go to the scene and an expertise will be carried out to find out the exact cause of the fire, he added.