An explosion followed by a major fire killed a person and injured over 39 at the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited unit at Vishakapatnam on Friday. One person is said to be missing.
The explosion, in the cooling tower of a new block, took place at about 5pm.
The injured were rushed to the INS Kalyani and other major hospitals in the port city, HPCL officials told HT.
Several fire engines are rushed to the premises to bring the major fire, which threatened to engulf the surroundings, under control. The smoke has spread over several KMs.
According to witnesses, the incident took place when welding works are underway on the cooling chamber which collapsed due to the impact. Another version of the cause is an electrical short circuit. Not enough precautions were taken which resulted in the accident, they said.
Officials said an enquiry would be commissioned to find the reasons and the lapses resulting in the blast.
Chief minister Kiran Reddy and Opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu expressed shock over the incident. Local police and administration were asked to involve in the rescue operations along with HPCL authorities.
Later, Visakhapatnam police commissioner Shivadhar Reddy said that the fire was brought under control.