Telangana: Fire at Srisailam dam power plant; 9 staffers trapped
A major fire broke out at the underground hydroelectric power station of the Srisailam reservoir's left bank canal in Telangana, trapping at least nine maintenance personnel inside the building. The incident, which took place late on Thursday night, followed an explosion in Unit-4 of the power station that was triggered by a short circuit, according to reports. Here are more details.
Fire occurred around 10:30 pm on Thursday
The fire at the power station occurred at around 10:30 pm on Thursday. A short circuit in the panel boards in Unit-4 led to the blaze, said initial reports. The Srisailam Left Bank Power Station (SLBP) is situated on Telangana's side of the Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna River; it is a joint irrigation project between the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
At least 25 people were on duty when fire occurred
Engineers belonging to the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TSPGC) were carrying out routine maintenance work at the power station when the fire broke out. At least 25 people were on duty at the time. While 10 of them have been rescued, nine staffers are still feared trapped. Of the rescued, six have been rushed to a Srisailam hospital for treatment.
9 people feared trapped; 10 rescued
Fire broke out at Left Bank Power House in Srisailam, in Telangana side, late last night. Fire engine from Atmakur Fire Station, Kurnool deployed. Ten people rescued, of which 6 are under treatment at a hospital in Srisailam. Nine people still feared trapped. More details awaited https://t.co/Y3uoIioR4b pic.twitter.com/p9WNoytpsF— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2020
All six units of plant engulfed in dense smoke
There are six power generators at the underground power plant, and soon after the incident occurred, dense smoke from the massive blaze reportedly engulfed all the six units - from the zero level to the service bay. Just within minutes, the entire power station was filled with thick smoke, which also caused hindrance to the rescue operations.
Rescue personnel attempted to enter power generation units thrice
As the fire broke out, officials present at the plant reportedly cut off the power connection to the station to bring the blaze under control. While officers on duty attempted to douse the fire, rescue personnel tried to enter the power generation units at least three times. However, the power shutdown along with the dense smoke made it difficult for them.
Help sought from NDRF; firefighters rushed to spot
After more than an eight-hour-long rescue effort by the power plant employees was unsuccessful, the Telangana Government sought help from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). A fire tender from a nearby fire station in Atmakur of Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool was rushed to rescue the trapped employees. Meanwhile, staffers from the Srisailam dam's right bank power station in Andhra Pradesh joined the rescue operations.
Telangana's Energy Minister visits the accident site
"There's heavy smoke, which is making rescue operations difficult. Even fire personnel have become unconscious while trying to rescue people inside. NDRF teams are also helping," said Telangana's Energy Minister G Jagdish Reddy, who visited the site. "Luckily, the drivers carrying firemen have masks...that has saved them. We have asked help from Singareni Collieries workers since they work in underground conditions," he added.