At least three people were killed and 14 others were injured in a major fire after an explosion inside a boiler at a chemical company in Boisar-Tarapur industrial estate in Palghar district near Mumbai around midnight.
The fire, which had spread to the other companies, has been brought under control and efforts are on to douse it, an officer said. A few reports suggest that the blast occurred in a boiler room of the Chemical plant. "Vibrations were felt till Palghar", a police official from Boisar police station said. They were later identified as Pintu Gautam, Janu Agaria, and Aloknath Agaria, all aged 30 and residents of Shiv Nagar in Boisar.
The first blast occurred in Novaphene Specialties Private Limited in E-107 unit of MIDC at around 11.10 pm, The Indian Express reported.
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A total of six factories, all dealing in chemicals, were affected by the blaze. As of Friday morning police, fire, revenue and health personnel were on the spot and carrying out search & rescue operations. "If the units are found guilty, a recommendation will be made to the government to cancel their licences", he said. Fearing it to be an natural disaster, people rushed to the streets.
Local eyewitnesses said that the explosion, "sounding like a huge bomb" took place when many people were preparing to retire for the night. Novaphene, Unimax, Prachi, Arti, Bharat Rasayan, Darbar.
Tarapur MIDC has around 1,100 chemical units which store hazardous and flammable chemicals. District Collector Dr Prashant Narnaware was at the spot, along with fire brigade officials from Vasai, Bhiwandi, Palghar, the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS), Reliance Thermal, Dahanu, Thane and Palghar, said Manjunath Singe, superintendent of police.