Maharashtra: Blast, fire in chemical unit in Palghar

Five injured, three dead after fire breaks out in Maharashtra's Palghar chemical factory; rescue operations underway

The fire spread to adjoining chemicals factories used by Aarti Drugs, Prachi Pharmaceuticals, Bharat Vasayan and Unimax.

The local police officials said that the blast took place around 11.15 pm.

The blaze gutted three other factories before it was controlled by fire engines, the Press Trust of India quoted Shinge as saying.

"There is a fire after boiler blast in the Boisar industrial estate".

Authorities rushed 11 fire tenders to the spot to contain the fire that spread to the nearby factories.

"The reverberations of the blast were strongly felt in 8-10 kilometre radius". Fearing it to be an quake, people rushed to the streets. During the search and rescue operation at Arti Industries site, three unidentified dead bodies were recovered. The 14 injured were admitted to a nearby hospital, of which at least two are said to be critical, and may have to be shifted to Mumbai.

Loyal eyewitnesses said that the explosion sounded like a bomb when they were preparing to retire for the night. The three deceased, identified as Pintu Kumar Gautam, Janu Adaria and Alok Nath suffered severe blast impact. District collector Prashant Narnaware said prima facie it appears that the solvent plant did not follow safety precautions. These chemicals deal in high purity acid and acid anhydrides.

"A detailed probe about the causes of fire would be carried out", said Boisar MLA Vilas Tare. Over 1,000 chemical units storing hazardous and flammable chemicals are located in the area.

The collector added that aid was asked for controlling the fire from Vasai-Virar Municipal corporation, Tarapur Atomic Plant and Reliance thermal power station.

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