Mohali, September 27
A major fire broke out at a chemical factory at the industrial area of Chanalon in Kurali this morning. Five women workers suffered burns. Three victims were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Phase 6, here while the others were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh. Anju suffered 70 per cent burns. Sandhya, who received 50 per cent burns, was stable.
Thick smoke engulfed Shemrock Organics Private Limited in the Focal Point, Chanalon, around 11:30 am. Within minutes, the parafin wax-manufacturing unit turned into a raging inferno with boilers spewing flames as high as 50 ft.
40 labourers work at unit daily: Residents
- Thick smoke engulfed Shemrock Organics Private Limited in the Focal Point, Chanalon, Kurali, around 11:30 am
- Boilers kept at factory spewed flames as high as 50 ft
- Fifteen fire engines from Mohali, Kharar, Dera Bassi, Chandigarh, Ropar, Chamkaur Sahib and Morinda pressed into service
- Foam-based fire extinguishers rushed from Chandigarh around three hours later brought the fire under control
- Officials did not confirm or deny any death in the incident till late at night as it was not possible to enter the factory due to sporadic explosions
- Local residents said around 40 labourers came for work at the factory daily
- 300 cops, led by SSP and SP, were present in the area with a team of doctors, ambulances
As several tin drums filled with inflammable liquid and gas started exploding inside the building, cranes and fire engines had to be pulled back. The authorities got area in a 200m radius of the factory vacated. Continuing explosions hindered firefighting operations. The wall of the adjoining factory was demolished to make access for the firemen.
Sporadic flames were seen inside the factory at 8:30 pm even though the blaze had been brought under control earlier, said firemen.
All efforts to contain the fire had a limited effect as water proved of little help to douse the flames. Foam-based fire extinguishers, rushed from Chandigarh around three hours later, brought the fire under control. Kharar Fire Officer Kaur Singh said the firefighters were struggling to contain the fire as inflammable liquid in large quantity had caught fire. Fire engines sprayed water to keep the nearby structures safe.
Sources said at least three families of labourers had been looking for their relatives at the site in the evening. Factory owner Gurinder Chawla was not present at the site the whole day. Neither did he pick up phone calls.
Deputy Commissioner Aashika Jain visited the site to oversee the rescue operations. “Twelve fire engines were pressed into service. Five women labourers sustained injuries. Three are reported to be stable, while two are under observation.”
As a large quantity of inflammable liquid spilled on to the nearby plot, the officials said the matter would be probed.
Magisterial probe ordered
The DC has ordered a magisterial probe into fire. “An Additional Deputy Commissioner-level officer will be entrusted with the inquiry. The guilty will be booked definitely for endangering the lives of the innocent and poor labourers,” she added. She said the victims would get adequate compensation for the treatment-related expenditure.
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