Nine dead as godown collapses after explosion in Gujarat

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(Eds: Updating toll) Ahmedabad, Nov 4 (PTI) At least nine labourers, three of them women, were killed when a portion of a chemical godown collapsed following a powerful explosion here on Wednesday morning, said officials.

Nine others were injured in the incident which took place on Pirana-Piplaj Road, an industrial area located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, they said.

Fire brigade personnel rushed to the spot on learning about the explosion and pulled out 18 persons from the rubble and shifted them to LG Hospital in '108' ambulances, said chief fire officer MF Dastur.

Out of the 18, nine were either declared brought dead or they succumbed to injuries shortly after getting admitted to the government-run hospital, he said.

The deceased, all labourers, included three women, he said.

The remaining nine persons, including some women, are under treatment for injuries, said the hospital in a statement.

'There was a fire but it was minor. The godown structure collapsed due to the explosion. We are using concrete breakers to dismantle the concrete slabs to pull out people.

'Till now, we have pulled 18 persons, who were trapped under the debris and sent them to the hospital,' said Dastur.

A fire control room official said at least 26 rescue and fire fighting vehicles were pressed into service after a call regarding a fire and explosion was received around 11 am.

Police force also rushed to the spot upon learning about the explosion.

'The building housing the chemical godown collapsed following the explosion. Rescue operation is still underway.

'We have initiated an inquiry into the incident,' said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ashok Munia.

Labourers working in adjoining buildings told reporters the explosion was so powerful that it ripped the walls of the godown having chemical drums, following which, the concrete roof collapsed on people working in it.

Relatives of the deceased told reporters their kin were not working at the godown where the explosion took place.

'My mother used to work at a readymade garments unit adjacent to the godown where the explosion took place. Due to the explosion, entire structure, including the adjoining place where my mother used to work, also collapsed,' said a relative outside LG Hospital.

While police and fire brigade officials were yet to ascertain the exact cause of the explosion, some local factory owners said the blast took place in a boiler installed at the chemical godown-cum-processing unit. PTI PJT PD NSK RSY RSY