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Five killed, 129 injured in explosion at industrial unit

Fire in Mumbai

Thane : At least Five workers were killed and 129 others injured in a huge explosion at an industrial unit today in Dombivili township of the district near here, police said.

The mishap occurred at about 11.30 AM when cylinders exploded leading to a fire in the chemical manufacturing unit of Herbert Brown Pharmaceutical and Research Laboratories at Shivaji Udyog Nagar of MIDC phase-II area in Dombivili (East), a unit of the Acharya Chemicals.

“As of now, the number of dead is three and that of injured is 129,” Thane District Collector Mahendra Kalyankar told PTI.

The injured were rushed to various hospitals in Thane, Dombivli and Kalyan, he said, adding, NDRF personnel were also involved in the rescue operation, along with fire brigade and police.

The intensity of the blast was so high that window panes in adjoining buildings were shattered and shocked people were seen running helter-skelter, an eyewitness said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief at the mishap while Industries Minister Subhash Desai and Guardian Minister for the district Eknath Shinde visited the site along with Kalyankar.

Minister of state for Home Ram Shinde said an inquiry will be conducted into the incident.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, Fadnavis said he has asked the police and local authorities to speed up the operations.

Thane Joint Police Commissioner Ashutosh Dumbre said rescue operations were on as some more persons could be trapped in the debris.

He said the toll could go up but it would be known only after clearing the debris.

He said the impact of the explosion was felt in an area of around five kilometres in which vehicles were damaged.

Over a dozen firefighters from Thane, Kalyan, Ambernath, Ulhasnagar, Badlapur and Navi Mumbai were rushed to the spot to extinguish the flames.

Police said the rescue team was facing a tough task in clearing the debris as chemical barrels and drums were lying buried under it.

The District Collector is likely to hold a meeting with the Directorate of Industrial Safety, police, MIDC, and Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation officials to find out if safety norms were followed by the chemical unit.

Thane District Regional Disaster Management Cell In-charge Santosh Kadam said the rescue operations were affected because of the fire and it was not immediately known how many persons were trapped inside.

At least 15 ambulances were rushed to the site, he added. The NRDF team from Pune was rushed to Dombivili to assist in the rescue operations.

“Saddened to know about the unfortunate & tragic incident that took place at Dombivali,” Fadnavis tweeted.

“Spoke to police officials & local authorities and asked them to speed up the relief operations,” he said.

“We are constantly in touch with the local administration and we would leave no stone unturned in our efforts & relief operation,” he said in another tweet.

BJP MLA from Dombivili Ravindra Chavan expressed serious concern over the explosions in the MIDC and sought a permanent solution for it.

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