At least 45 workers were injured after a fire broke out following a boiler blast in the refinery of Bharat Petroleum in Mumbai's Chembur area this afternoon, ANI reported. "The fire is still on but is under control," the company said.
The incident took place at the public sector oil firm's plant on the Mahul Road in Chembur area of East Mumbai around 2.45 pm, they said.
After preliminary treatment at BPCL's first aid centre, 22 of them were allowed to go home, whereas 21 were shifted to a nearby hospital in Chembur. One of the workers injured was critical and is undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit.
Nine fire tenders, two foam tenders and two jumbo tankers were pressed into service to douse the blaze. Along with the Fire Brigade, the refinery's own fire-fighting team, HPCL, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, RCF and Mazgaon Dock fire brigades were also engaged in dousing the flames which were now under control, said an official of the Disaster Control Room of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The incident took place in the "Compressor shed of Hydrocracker plant", as per the company's statement. Fire Brigade chief PS Rahangdale said the firefighting was made difficult by heat and pressure inside the plant.
"Due to the tremendous heat and pressure, firefighting is being carried out from a safe distance using fixed monitors," chief fire officer Rahangdale was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, locals in the area staged a protest after the incident, saying a similar accident in the future could turn out to be more devastating.
According to Santosh Aadhar, a local resident, a "massive" explosion was heard in the surrounding area. "Its tremors shook windows of our building which is 500 m away from the refinery," Aadhar told reporters.
People living in the vicinity gathered at the refinery's gate, shouting slogans and demanding that they be relocated from the area. Hundreds of families displaced for various government projects or due to slum demolitions have been resettled in Mahul village.
"Had the boiler exploded near our building, we would have been reduced to ashes," said Puja Waghmare, a local resident. Reshma Chavan, another woman, said, "Today's explosion shattered the window panes in our building. We were lucky that the plant where it happened is farther from our building. Can anyone guarantee that such incident will not take place in future?" she asked.
Shivraj Pandit, convenor of Chembur Welfare Brigade, a local outfit, said air pollution in the area is a major concern, and the government agencies were neglecting it. The plant had caught fire at around 3 pm, PTI quoted an official as saying.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 23:25:17 IST