India World

India: 18 killed in fire at chlorine dioxide chemical plant near Pune city

Eighteen people were killed in a fire at a chemical factory on the outskirts of Pune city, India.

Some 37 workers were trapped at the building premises when the blaze started around 3:45pm on Monday.

When fire personnel reached the site, smoke was billowing from the compound and the firemen had to break walls to rescue people.

After a rigorous fire-fighting operation, the fire was extinguished by around 6.30pm and a cooling operation was carried out.

“An inquiry has been instituted under the sub-divisional magistrate, Maval, with fire officers and police officials as members, to determine the cause of the fire and to ascertain if there were any violations of safety measures that the plant should have been following,” Pune District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said.

The factory belonged to SV Aqua Technologies, a company that makes chlorine dioxide products, which is typically used in water treatment.

It was located in what is known as the Pirangut industrial estate, home to several other factories and plants, some 16km from Pune.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences over the death of the workers, and announced USD $2,800 as compensation for their families. He also promised $690 as compensation for the injured.

The government of Maharashtra, where the factory is located, also announced $6,800 as compensation to the victims ‘families.