3 killed, 14 hurt in blasts in Boisar chemical factories

A massive fire broke out at a chemical factory in Tarapur MIDC killing three and injuring five workers. Reuters

At least 3 people have been killed and 11 others injured after a massive explosion in a chemical factory in the Palghar district of Maharashtra triggered a fire in 5 factory units nearby, on Thursday night.

"We fear there may be more casualties".

Even as firemen and disaster teams had rushed to the site, the blaze had quickly spread to at least five other chemical companies in the vicinity, Shinge said. It is probing the cause of the fire and has filed an accidental death report, said sources. Rescue and search operations are still underway.

People those who are injured are admitted to a local hospital. Initial reports suggest a boiler containing industrial solvent burst under high temperature and pressure. Pintu Kumar Gautam, Janu Adria, and Alok Nath are identified among dead.

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The blast occurred around 11.15 p.m. Prima facie, it appears that the boiler blast in Novaphene occurred due to irregular storage of solvent, district collector Prashant Narnawre said. Six factories were affected by fire.

The flames also engulfed Bharat Rasayan, Aarti Drugs, Unimax Chemicals and Prachi Pharmaceuticals, which share a wall with Novaphene. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and fire fighting operation is on, another official said. "If the units are found guilty, a recommendation will be made to the government to cancel their licences", he said.

Scared and shaken many mistook it for an quake and hundreds rushed out on to the streets and sat there for hours.

Loyal eyewitnesses said that the explosion sounded like a bomb when they were preparing to retire for the night. The MIDC area has over 1,100 highly flammable units.

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