A major fire broke out at a chemical factory in Derabassi Wednesday morning, killing two and leaving a dozen injured. The fire broke out following an explosion in one of the units of the factory. Of the 12 injured, condition of five victims is stated to be critical.
According to the information, an explosion took place in one of the units of Punjab Chemicals and Crop Protection Limited at around 11 am, Wednesday. After the blast, a major fire broke out that spread quickly in a unit with 30 workers.
The blast was so powerful that the window panes of many houses were broken and parts of some metals were scattered in an area of around 500 metres. As many as 18 fire tenders from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, were pressed into service to control the fire, which was settled after three hours. A series of explosions took place after the fire engulfed some tankers loaded with chemicals.
The fire brigade was present at factory premises till late evening Wednesday. The injured persons were taken to Derabassi civil hospital, while the five in critical condition were referred to Chandigarh. The company’s director, Avtar Singh, said the plant, where the fire broke out, was set up only six months back.
“It is a big loss for us. We are searching for the missing employee and are ensuring that those injured in the accident are treated,” Avtar Singh said.
A factory worker said fire broke out at the third floor of the unit and quickly spread over other parts of building.”After the blast, a dozen employees were injured, including those who jumped from the third floor to save their lives,” the worker added.
Derabassi Station House Officer (SHO) Sub-Inspector Satinder Singh confirmed the death of two workers and said another was missing. He added that they were inquiring the incident and proceed as per the law. Meanwhile, one of the workers killed was identified as Sukhwinder Singh alias Bunty (22), a resident of Bijanpur village, while the other was unidentified. Sukhwinder Singh joined the factory 25 days back with his friend, Ravi Kumar (20), also a resident of the same village and the man who is reportedly missing.
Sukhwinder Singh was married nearly two years back and is survived by his wife and a one-year-old son. Ravi Kumar’s family members held a protest outside the factory and alleged that they were not allowed to enter the premises to search for him. Ravi was unmarried and was a close friend of Sukhwinder Singh.