Four persons were killed and 16 others injured, after an explosion at a factory at Boisar in Thane district. The police said the entire building collapsed owing to the impact of Friday morning’s blasts, which appears to be a result of a chemical reaction.
The casualties, which include labourers and office staff could rise as two employees are feared trapped under the debris.
The Boisar police said that the blast was reported at Aarti Drugs, plot no 198, in the MIDC area at around 11.30 am. The unit produces Methyl Nitro Imitazole, a chemical used in the production of pharmaceuticals. It is suspected that the blast occurred as the temperature in the reactor was improper, police said.
The police said that the fire brigade, local police and forensic experts rushed to the spot immediately after the explosion. The forensic team is working to identify the cause of the blast and a report will be submitted to the local police.
“The forensic team said that as per preliminary investigations, the explosion occurred during a nitration reaction because brownish fumes were seen prior to the blast. Although the fire was of a medium level, some minor blasts continued after the fire. Blast shocks were felt by villagers in a 10 km radius. The entire area around the factory has now been cordoned off,” said UD Sonawane, senior inspector, Boisar police.
The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals. While four office staff members succumbed to injuries, 10 labourers were discharged after treatment, while six others are still in hospital, police said. Two of these, who are in critical condition, were shifted to KEM Hospital in Mumbai.
Two office staff members are still missing and rescue operations are on.
“As of now, we have recorded accidental deaths. But a case of negligence will be registered against the occupier among the board of directors of the factory, the production manager and the works manager on Saturday once the preliminary probe culminates,” said Sonawane.
The deceased were identified as Pooja Dilip Wade, 23, a resident of Tembhi in Palghar, Thane who worked as an engineer at the factory and joined work just three days ago, 22-year-old Pranit Dilip Patil, also a Palghar resident who worked as an instrument engineer, Sachin Pujari, 48, who worked as the manager and Surendra Sardar, 30, an electrical engineer.