Maharashtra chemical factory blast kills 3, injures 15; rescue ops underway

Maharashtra chemical factory blast kills 3, injures 15; rescue ops underway

Maharashtra chemical factory blast kills 3, injures 15; rescue ops underway

The fire has spread to six chemical factories nearby at Tarapur, Palghar.

The fire engulfed the factory around 11.40 pm yesterday after a massive explosion inside a boiler, a senior police official said.

The fire then spread to five other factories, Unimax, Prachi, Arti, Bharat Rasayan and Darbari. Preliminary reports suggest that the blasts occurred in 25 drums of 200-litre capacity belonging to Novaphene Speciality Limited, in their factory at Plot E-107, Boisar MIDC.

The loud blast was heard several miles away around midnight and many villagers rushed out of their homes in panic, the Indian Express newspaper reported. Fearing it to be an natural disaster, people rushed to the streets. Manjunath Singhe, Palghar SP, said the number of casualties could up, adding that the search and rescue operation is now underway.

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Local eyewitnesses said that the explosion, "sounding like a huge bomb" took place when many were preparing to retire for the night. They were later identified as Pintu Gautam, Janu Agaria, and Aloknath Agaria, all aged 30 and residents of Shiv Nagar in Boisar. The 14 injured were admitted to a nearby hospital, of which at least two are said to be critical, and may have to be shifted to Mumbai. The site manufactures specialty chemicals and cosmetic preservatives dealing in high purity acid and acid anhydrides.

Palghar district collector Prashant Narnaware, meanwhile, said the owners of the unit will likely be booked for negligence. The MIDC area has over 1,100 highly flammable units.

Tarapur Atomic Power Station, which is also situated on Boisar-Tarapur Road, is around 20 km from the spot, he added.

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