Twelve persons, including five women, died and nine others were injured in a major blast that ripped through a chemical boiler factory on Pirana-Piplaj road in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, leading to the collapse of an adjacent textile godown where several workers were trapped in the debris.
According to police and fire personnel, the blast occurred at 11.22 am at Shahil Enterprises chemical boiler factory, engaged in the production of chemicals, located at ‘Revabhai Nanu Kaka’ estate, 500 metres from the Pirana dumping site, on Piplaj road. In the impact, the chemical factory was reduced to rubble, while the godown of Kanika Texo Fab adjacent to it collapsed.
Watch : Godown of a garments factory collapsed after a blast took place at a chemical factory adjacent to it near Pirana in Ahmedabad. Nine dead, nine rescued, two missing @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/AimDlbBSCQ
— Vaibhav (@Vaibhav_Rptr) November 4, 2020
A CCTV footage released by the Ahmedabad police shows workers, including women, packing garments at Kanika Texo Fab godown when at 11.22 am a blast occurs and the CCTV goes blank. According to officials involved in rescue operations that lasted till 8 pm, many workers died after the debris fell on them, while others died of burns. Owners of
Kanika Texo Fab said 30 workers were present inside the godown at the time of the blast. According to officials, among the 12 deceased workers, five women were employed at Kanika Texo Fab, while others were from Shahil Enterprises. The deceased have been identified as Jacqulin (19), a resident of Indira Nagar in Ahmedabad, Nazmun Nisha Shaikh (40), a native of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Raginiben (50), a resident of Ranipur in Ahmedabad, Yunusbhai Mallick (52), a native of Muradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Kaluva Fakir (45), a native of Muradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Mustafa Saiyyad (51), a native of Surendranagar, Mathur Chavda (50), a native of Kadi in Mehsana, Ramaram Devasi (26), a native of Pali in Rajasthan, Nitin Parmar (24), a native of Patan, Ranjanben Godia (19), a resident of Vasna in Ahmedabad, Hitesh Parmar (20), a resident of Piplaj in Ahmedabad and Angelina Chavda (44), a resident of Narol in Ahmedabad.
Nine injured, including four women, were taken to LG Hospital for emergency treatment, of which the condition of six is critical, they said.
“Multiple blasts occurred at the chemical boiler factory after which the garments godown collapsed. More than 60 fire personnel rushed to the spot with 24 fire tenders… The rescue operation was challenging because there was fire and building collapse… we had to douse the fire to bring down the smoke and then remove the debris. The rescued persons were taken to LG Hospital, while 12 bodies have been retrieved… Cause of the fire is not yet known… forensic teams have visited the spot,” said MF Dastoor, chief fire officer, Fire Safety Department, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
LG Hospital assistant resident medical officer Dr Gopal Desai told The Indian Express, “Twelve persons were declared brought dead, while nine are undergoing treatment. Of the total 22 who were brought to the hospital, there were eight women and 14 men.”
The state government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. A two-member inquiry committee with Vipul Mitra, additional chief secretary of Labour and Employment department, and Sanjiv Kumar, chairman of Gujarat Pollution Control Board, was formed to investigate the incident.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani took to Twitter and said, “Deeply saddened by the news of Ahmedabad Fire Tragedy. Instructed officials to do needful. My prayers are with all those affected. May those who have been injured recover at the earliest. I pray for the departed souls. Om Shanti (sic).”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the loss of lives and said authorities were providing all possible assistance to those affected. “Anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a godown in Ahmedabad. Condolences to the bereaved families… Prayers with the injured. Authorities are providing all possible assistance to the affected,” Modi tweeted.
‘Felt like an earthquake’
Due to its proximity with the Pirana dumping ground with thousands of tonnes of waste material, the Revabhai estate was engulfed in dust immediately after the blast at the chemical factory. According to witnesses, “it felt like an earthquake” with dust swirling up all over.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dhruv Chopra (28), owner of Kanika Texo Fab company, said, “I had just reached the parking lot of the godown when I heard the blast. For a few minutes I lost my senses and somehow called 108 for ambulance. Later my workers informed the police and fire departments. I have 30 workers in my godown where we do packing of garments.”
By 3 pm as the news of the blast spread, a scene of chaos ensued on the estate premises where anxious relatives went looking for their loved ones.
“We reached here at 2 pm when my sister’s employer called us informing about the accident. After coming here, we were told that she was taken to LG Hospital and is critical,” said Madhur Parmar, a relative of one of the injured workers.
Raju Ghanchi, 24, an employee at the Kanika Texo Fab garment company godown, said, “I was at work in the godown when suddenly there was a deafening noise… the walls and roof collapsed, trapping many of the workers in the debris. Wooden shafts fell on my legs but I was rescued with injuries.” Ghanchi was seen helping fire personnel in removing the debris from the site.
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