Pune: Major fire breaks out at chemical factory; 18 dead
In a major tragedy, at least 18 employees of a chemical factory located in Pune, Maharashtra lost their lives while many are still missing as a massive fire broke out at the company's sanitizer manufacturing unit on Monday. According to reports, there were about 37 employees on duty when the blaze erupted at the chemical factory in Pune's Ghotawade Phata area. Here's more.
News agency PTI reported that the incident occurred at the chemical factory of a company named SVS Aqua Technologies. Soon after the blaze erupted, the local fire department had rushed at least six fire engines to the plant. At least a dozen of the employees, including women, are reportedly still trapped in the fire.
Maharashtra | 7 dead and 10 missing in massive fire incident at a company in Ghotawade Phata, Pune. Out of 37 on-duty employees, 20 have been rescued: Fire Department pic.twitter.com/wZs6j5UVwe— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2021
The local fire department dispatched a big contingent to the incident site to extinguish the blaze and rescue those stuck inside, said officials. "According to company officials, at least 17 of their workers were missing after the blaze broke out," an official told PTI. Some reports suggested that the number of casualties may rise.
While the fire has been brought under control now, the search and rescue operations for the missing employees are still ongoing, according to officials. The fire reportedly erupted at the plastic packaging section in the sanitizer manufacturing unit. "Due to some spark at the (packaging) section, the fire broke out and as there was plastic around, so it spread rapidly," said an official.
"The fire broke out during plastic packing, smoke was so much that female workers could not find an escape. We have recovered 17 bodies - 15 women and 2 men," Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer, Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), told news agency ANI. "Cooling and search operation is underway," he added.
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condole the deaths of the employees. "Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a factory in Pune, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families," he tweeted. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each for the family of those who lost their lives, while Rs. 50,000 would be given to those injured.