In the second fire incident at a chemical factory within a week, one worker was killed and five others were injured after an explosion in a reactor at Hemani industries at Ankleshwar GIDC led to a fire early on Thursday.
According to police, the incident took place in Hemani industries, which deals with pesticides products and intermediate chemicals, around 1 am when the workers on night shift were on duty. Six labourers suffered severe burns as the hot toxic chemicals fell on them from the reactor.
Other labourers in the unit rushed the injured to private hospitals in Bharuch and also alerted the disaster management office at Ankleshwar GIDC. Fire fighters battled the flames for over 90 minutes before bringing it under control. The factory has been shut down after the incident.
One of the labourers who succumbed to his burns at Sunshine Global hospital in Bharuch has been identified as Salauddin Shaikh (31), a native of Bihar. The injured workers are Aurangzeb Shaikh, Manoj Rai, Sujit Mohato, Laxman Kanozia, and Rajesh Shirvastav, all from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Officials from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, factory inspector and police reached the spot to investigate. GIDC disaster management department fire officer Manoj Kotadia said, “There were around 70 workers in night shift on Wednesday night, as per the company register.
Due to exothermic reactions, the unit where blast took place was covered with smoke and visibility was poor… but we managed to bring the flames under control and even the cooling process was done. We switched off the power supply to prevent shortcircuit and opened all the windows and doors. Company night shift incharge, Sanjay Pandey, said no labourer was missing.”
Ankleshwar GIDC police inspector ZI Shaikh said, “There was some chemical process going on in the reactor and the pressure increased that led to a blast, triggering the fire. Hot chemical solutions fell on six labourers, injuring them. We have started probe into the incident. The condition of two labourers is critical.”
GPCB officials RR Vyas said, “When we reached the spot, toxic fumes from the blast site had spread in the area. The company was manufacturing pesticides and intermediate chemicals. Production has been stopped in the company and we are preparing the report.”
On June 3, a similar blast at the Yashashvi Rasayan Private Ltd in Dahej SEZ in Bharuch district triggered a fire, killing 10 migrant labourers, following which the National Green Tribunal slapped Rs 25 crore penalty on the company.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines