At least 24 people were burnt, 17 of them seriously, after a blast furnace explosion in a private steel plant in Orissa on Saturday.
The mishap occurred on Saturday afternoon at the VISA Steel complex in Kalinga Nagar, the state's steel hub located in Jajpur district, nearly 150 km from Bhubaneswar.
"After the explosion, gas in a pipe connected to the blast furnace caught fire, worsening the situation," a company official said.
The injured - an engineer, two permanent workers and 21 contract labourers - were taken to a private clinic in Cuttack.
"All the injured have received burn injuries and are under treatment in the clinic. Every attempt has been made for the best treatment to them," Jagat Parija, vice-president (corporate) of VISA Steel, told IANS.
He said the incident occurred when the workers were charging the coal into the coke oven. "The coal loaded onto a sliding car then exploded resulting in the accident. It affected the workers who were washing the nozzle of the gas pipe."
Clinic sources said the injured had received above 50 percent burn injuries but they were out of danger.
As news of the mishap spread in the locality, an irate mob including many employees of the steel plant rushed to the industrial campus and ransacked its administrative building, besides damaging its boundary wall.
Police later reached the spot and brought the situation under control.
"Two platoons of armed police forces have been deployed inside the campus. The situation is tense but under control," Jajpur District Superintendent of Police DS Kuttey said.
VISA Steel, the flagship company of the VISA Group, is currently setting up an integrated 1.5 million tonne per annum special and stainless steel plant at the Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex.