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Posted at: Apr 25, 2018, 2:04 AM; last updated: Apr 25, 2018, 2:04 AM (IST)

One dead in chemical plant fire

One dead in chemical plant fire
The Maggu chemical plant at Dera Bassi that was gutted in a fire. TRIBUNE PHOTO: RAVI KUMAR

Satinder Pal Singh

Dera Bassi, April 24

One worker was killed in the series of blasts and the fire that ripped through a chemical plant at Behra village here on Monday night. The loss has been estimated to be around Rs 4-5 crore, said sources.

Rakesh Kumar (50), who had suffered over 70 per cent burn injuries, was taken to a private hospital in Dera Bassi from where he was referred to the PGI. His condition deteriorated on the way to the PGI and was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32, where he was declared brought dead.

Rakesh Kumar, a resident of College Colony, Dera Bassi, was working as a production manager at the Maggu chemical plant. Sources said seven people were working in the chemical plant and standard operating protocol lapses might be the cause of the explosion.

Dera Bassi fire personnel were on their toes even on the second day on Tuesday as the containers containing solvents kept smouldering. Two fire engines were stationed on the spot to sprinkle water at regular intervals to check recurrence of the blaze, said a fire official.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Initial reports suggest that high pressure and temperature reportedly led to an uncontrolled and unstable solvent reaction, causing an explosion in a chemical reactor. There were a series of blasts in chemical containers, leading to high flames. The entire plant was gutted.

The incident took place around 9.30 pm on Monday. Sources said the solvent containers exploded one after the other, making it difficult for the firefighters to venture closer to the plant.

The Dera Bassi police on Tuesday registered a case under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code against the management of the chemical plant.

Paramjit Singh, SDM, Dera Bassi, said: “One casualty has been confirmed.” He said he would seek a report from the Fire Department whether the safety norms were in place and if any discrepancies were found, action would be taken.

Jatinder Singh Bhatti, Deputy Director, Factories, Labour Department, who visited the spot on Tuesday afternoon, said he might form a committee of chemical engineers to probe the incident.

“Chemicals are supposed to be handled with care. There must have been some negligence,” said Jatinder Singh.

“We have started investigations to check whether the plant had the requisite clearances,” said Jatinder Singh.


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