A 23-year-old contract worker died while another was injured after a fire broke out on board a warship under construction at the Mazgaon dockyard in Mumbai Friday.
Officials said the incident took place around 4 pm in Yard 12704, and the fire was on the second and third decks of the warship, INS Visakhapatnam. The body of the 23-year-old, who hospital authorities later identified as Brajendra Kumar, was recovered by 7 pm.
INS Visakhapatnam, a stealth guided missile destroyer, is the lead warship of Project 15B which involves construction of four such destroyers. Started in April 2015, INS Visakhapatnam is expected to enter service with the Indian Navy by 2021.
Work on INS Mormugao, the second ship of the Visakhapatnam class, began in September 2016 while on INS Imphal, the third, work began in April 2019. The fourth planned destroyer is INS Porbandar. The Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, in a press release, said: “A minor fire incident took place on Yard 12704 (Visakhapatnam), the first of class of Project 15B during grinding operations in tank at MDL today at around 1600 hrs. The fire was brought under control by 1900 hrs.”
“One contract worker unfortunately succumbed, possibly due to asphyxia and burn injury, and another suffered minor burns. An enquiry has been constituted to ascertain the cause of fire,” the MDL said.
A Fire Brigade official said information about the fire was received at 5.44 pm following which five fire tenders, six water tankers, one breathing apparatus, one control post and a quick response vehicle were sent to the spot. The operation went on till late evening.
Fire Brigade officials and Navy firefighters were still trying to ascertain the cause of the fire. Although the blaze had been curtailed, officials said they were still encountering searing heat and smoke at the site.
“We are also dewatering the ship. It is, however, a difficult task as only two firemen can go to the lower deck because the hatch is small. We have the Navy submarine fire team and the Mazgaon firefighting team on standby as well,” BMC Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said. J J Hospital Superintendent Dr Sanjay Surase said the contract worker, Brajendra Kumar, was brought to the hospital around 9 pm. “He was declared dead in the casualty ward. He suffered deep third degree burns all over,” he said.
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