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12 dead in fire at Hapur factory that ‘produced firecrackers illegally’: ‘Saw people with burns jumping into drains’

PM Modi takes cognizance: 'The state government is actively involved in treatment of those injured'.

Written by Aranya Shankar | Hapur |
Updated: June 5, 2022 7:16:58 am
The factory is located at an Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) site in Hapur’s Dhaulana area. (ANI)

Twelve people died and 13 people were injured in a factory fire at Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur Saturday afternoon, according to the police. As per preliminary investigation, the factory had allegedly been manufacturing fireworks illegally, even though a license had been taken to manufacture electronics.

The factory is located at an Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) site in Hapur’s Dhaulana area. More than 20 fire tenders were rushed to the site, officials said. Most of the deceased were labourers working at the plant.

Sub-inspector Sandeep Kumar of Dhaulana police station and chowki in-charge, UPSIDC, said they received information around 2:30 pm. “We rushed to the spot. We found eight bodies inside the factory which were completely charred. Another four people succumbed to their injuries in the hospitals where they were taken. Currently the injured are admitted at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, Sushila Multi-speciality Hospital in Ghaziabad and Meerut Medical.”

“There were no chemicals or boiler inside the factory premises. Plastic pellets and other materials found at the spot after the blast make us believe they were producing fireworks inside. As per our estimate there were 27 workers working inside the factory,” he said.

The gate of the factory read ‘Ruhi Industries’, though it was not immediately clear whether that belonged to the owner or the tenant.

“The owner of the factory is one Dilshad, a resident of Meerut. He had rented the factory to one Waseem, who is from Hapur. We have tried to trace both people but their phones are switched off. We were told Waseem was one of the injured but we have not been able to track him,” said Kumar.

Medha Rupam, District Magistrate Hapur, said, “We received information that a huge fire has taken place in Dhaulana area. It is an unfortunate incident. Our primary efforts are to save those who are injured. We are making sure they get medical assistance. With regards to the cause of fire and the legality of the factory, a probe is underway. A committee will be set up as well.”

Workers and factory owners in the area said they all heard a loud blast in the afternoon followed by smoke billowing and material flying off from the factory. Soon after people could be seen rushing out.

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Sumit (9) whose parents are labourers in a nearby building, was playing outside with his friends, when he heard the blast. “I didn’t know what had happened. I just saw people running out injured and I ran away,” he said.

Shyam Sundar (40), a worker at the nearby MDT Lubricants factory, said he was working when he heard a blast. “There were people bleeding and burning running out of the factory, jumping in drains hoping for some contact with water,” he said.

Pankaj Kumar (23), who works in the adjacent Angad Organics, a fertiliser manufacturing company, sustained minor injuries on his arm as material from the factory came flying out. The impact of the blast was such that glasses and windows of nearby factories were also shattered.

Ritesh Thakur (29), owner of MDT Lubricants, said he had never seen any labourers inside or outside the factory . “We are being told 30-40 people were inside, but if there were so many people working inside out, they never came out. We couldn’t see them at the paan shop right opposite the factory either, which is where people congregate,” he said.

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Thakur also said that the industrial area is almost 20 years old, yet there is no fire station in the whole area. “We were scared that if the fire spreads, it will take all our factories down,” he said.

The gate of the factory where the blast took place. (Express Photo)

Sub-inspector Sandeep Kumar admitted that there were “repeated demands” for a fire station. “There are at least 2-3 incidents of fire here every month but they are usually comparatively small,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took cognizance of the incident. “The accident in the chemical factory is heart wrenching. I express my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. The state government is actively involved in treatment of those injured,” said the PM office in a tweet.

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UP CM Yogi Adityanath expressed condolences to the family of the deceased. He also directed senior officials from the Meerut division to reach the factory and expedite rescue operations. Legal proceedings against the factory owners will be initiated by the police after concluding the initial probe, said officials.

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First published on: 04-06-2022 at 05:26:21 pm

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