Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Fire at chemical firm; 17 dead


PUNE: At least 17 workers, mostly women, were killed after a major fire broke out at a chemical firm in an industrial area in Pune district on Monday afternoon, fire department officials said.

According to the officials, the fire broke out at SVS Aqua Technologies, which manufactures chlorine dioxide and is located in the Pirangut MIDC area of Mulshi tehsil on the outskirts of Pune city. "According to company officials, 17 workers were missing when the blaze started at around 4 pm.

"The fire broke out during plastic packing, smoke was so much that female workers could not find an escape. We have recovered 17 charred bodies - 15 women and 2 men. Cooling and search operation is underway," said Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer, PMRDA, Pune. He said six to seven fire tenders were rushed to the chemical unit, where flames were doused but the search is underway for the missing workers.

Asked about the possible cause of the blaze, Potphode said as per the company officials, the fire started during packing of plastic materials in the premises. "Due to some spark at the (packaging) section, the fire broke out and as there was plastic around, it spread rapidly," said Potphode.

Dr Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, Pune district, said the plant is engaged in producing chlorine dioxide for water purification. Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound which has a variety of antimicrobial uses, including the disinfection of drinking water.

The Prime Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakhs each from the PMNRF for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to fire at an industrial unit in Pune, Maharashtra. Rs. 50,000 would be provided to those injured, said Prime Minister's Office.


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