At least, three people were killed and 12 injured after an explosion inside a boiler of Tarapur Atomic Power Station, a chemicals factory in Maharashtra's Palghar district, on Thursday night. The explosion caused a major fire to break out. Police said the incident took place at Ramdeo Chemicals in the Boisar-Tarapur industrial estate. The blast, prima facie is suspected to have occurred in a boiler room and efforts were on to douse the fire in the factory precincts.
The fire engulfed the factory at around 11.40 pm after a massive explosion inside a boiler, a senior police official said. The impact of the blasts could be felt 12 kilometres from the spot in Palghar, Mahim, Boisar and surrounding areas. Palghar Superintendent of Police (SP) Manjunath Shinge said that during a search, three unidentified bodies were found at the Arti industries site. "There may be more casualties. Search and rescue operation is going on," Shinge told PTI.
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The three deceased have been identified as Pintu Kumar Gautam, Janu Adaria and Alok Nath and all three suffered the impact of the blast. The twelve injured were identified as:
Sanjay Javade (25), Kailas Kumar (20), Dinesh Kumar (21), Sunil Kumar (21), Sachin Rathod (19), Kailash Sonawane (25), Uday Yadav (42), Vakset Singh (60), Mukesh Rawat (24), Sunil Yadav (21), Urwind Vishwakarma (20), Kudubai (55).
Three factories near Ramdeo Chemicals were also gutted in the blaze and 13 people were injured. They were admitted to various hospitals, another senior police official said. The fire, that had spread to the other buildings, has been brought under control and efforts are on to douse it, the officer said. The first blast occurred in Novaphene Specialties Private Limited in E-107 unit of MIDC at around 11.10 pm, The Indian Express reported.
Hindustan Times quoted the Palghar district collector who said at least 40 blasts were heard from the plant. "It is clear that the said unit did not follow any safety precautions and due to an exothermic reaction, the blast occurred in the solvent drums. We are probing and the guilty will be charged under relevant sections of the IPC and we may recommend the government to cancel the manufacturing licence of the guilty units," the report quoted Narnaware as saying.
Local eyewitnesses said that the explosion, "sounding like a huge bomb" took place when many were preparing to retire for the night. However, scared and shaken by the explosion, many feared it was an earthquake and hundreds rushed out on to the streets and sat there. Further details are awaited and senior civil and police officials besides disaster management teams have rushed to the spot.
Preliminary reports revealed that the blasts occurred in 25 drums containing 200 litres each of solvent at Novephene Specialities' plant in Boisar MIDC at around 11.15 pm. Four surrounding chemical units " belonging to Prachi Industries (manufacturing iodine), Bharat Rasayan, Arti Industries (manufacturing vitamins), Unimax and others " were either partially or completely destroyed. Narnaware suspected that the fire spread as there were chemical drums inside these companies.
Tarapur Atomic Power Station, which is also located on the Boisar-Tarapur Road, is around 20 kilometres from the spot, he said.
With inputs from agencies