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A blast, followed by a massive fire in the storage tank of a chemical plant in Dahej, in Gujarat's Bharuch district took eight lives and injured more than 50 people on Wednesday.
Ten fire trucks came to control the blaze that engulfed the entire factory. Nearly 4,800 people in villages near to the plant have been evacuated and taken to safer areas as a precautionary measure, fearing leakage of the poisonous chemicals, a district official informed the media.
Videos of the fire went viral on social media. The plant belongs to chemical major Yashashvi Rasayan Pvt Ltd, which produces over 15 chemicals for industrial use.
According to the Bharuch District Disaster Management Department, over 200 workers, mostly migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were present at the site of Yashashvi Rasayan Private Ltd at the time of the incident, The Indian Express reported.
The preliminary investigation report submitted by Vijaysinh Parmar, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Vagra, stated that the fire broke out due to a blast in the storage tank, post which ten fire trucks were rushed in and six ambulances were used to shift the injured ones to the hospital.
The report submitted to Bharuch District Collector, Dr MD Modiya, further read that no responsible person was present in the plant at that time, and five dead bodies were found near the storage tank.
It further read that the fire started around noon and was brought under control at 5.30pm with the combined effort of fire personnel and disaster management officials. Rescue operations are still on to find if any labourers are trapped inside.
According to the officials, as soon as the blast engulfed various parts of the factory, 'high concentrated chemicals' fell on the labourers working in nearby chambers, with a few of them dying on the spot, the media organization reported.
Reportedly, they were Methanol and Xylene chemical tanks that exploded, both chemicals that are highly poisonous and flammable.
Injured have been admitted to Bharuch Civil Hospital and to private hospitals, with some of them in a critical condition.
"We have registered a case of accidental death and started a probe. Eight people died and the figure may go up after the entire factory is surveyed. We are trying to get in touch with owners of the company," Bharuch District Superintendent of Police, Rajendrasinh Chudasma as quoted.
Last month, a chemical leak in a plant of LG Polymers in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district took 11 lives and hospitalised almost 200 people. More than 1,000 more people were affected by the gas leak.
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