Fire officials on Wednesday were still trying to douse the flames a day after a major fire broke out at the Adharwadi dumping yard in Kalyan.
Some parts of the dumping ground continue to be on fire, said fire officials, adding that 12 more water tankers were pressed into service since the water from a nearby bore-well had run out.
The blaze started around 3:30 pm on Tuesday, and it took seven hours to control the fire on the four-acre dumping ground near Durgadi bridge. More than 14 fire engines and 12 water tankers were pressed into service on the first day.
“The fire could not be doused immediately because of the strong wind,” said Sudhakar Kulkarni, fire officer, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC).
Additional fire tenders were called in from the municipal corporations of Bhiwandi, Ambernath and Ulhasnagar to support the fire-fighting effort.
“Although we could control the major fire, the area is still emitting smoke. We will have to continuously work on cooling the entire area,” said Namdev Choudhary, fire officer, KDMC. “The wind pattern is normal now, which is why we could control the fire. However, strong winds coupled with the afternoon heat could lead to an increase in the fire at the site. It may take another entire day to bring the situation under complete control.”
Thick smoke engulfed the area, affecting visibility and causing breathing problems among residents. Affected areas include Maharashtra Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Adharwadi, Sathe Nagar and Wadekar.
The Adharwadi dumping ground is located near residential areas, a hospital and a college. Residential areas are around 50 metres from the site. Kalyan residents have been demanding the KDMC to shift the dumping yard away from the city, but residents of proposed locations have resisted.
More than 2,000 people were moved to safer places as smoke and smog filled the area. “We are allowing residents to go back to their homes in case of emergency as the amount of smoke entering their houses has reduced. However, we have insisted that they stay away until the entire situation is under control,” said Choudhary.
Dilip Gaund, chief fire officer of Kalyan division, said it might take all night for the fire to be completely extinguished. “The fire might have been caused due to excessive heat for the past few days. However, the actual cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained,” he said.
ABOUT THE DUMP YARD
• The four-acre Adharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan (West) handles 700 metric tonnes of solid waste a day
• Without any scientific procedure to dispose waste, pollution has worsened in nearby areas
• The dumping ground has been operational since 1984
• The KDMC plans to scientifically shut down the dumping ground and move it away from the city.