A fire broke out at the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) godown at Turbhe on Wednesday morning, destroying over 3,480 bags of sulphur. Though no casualties were reported, four people have been admitted to the hospital after complaints of suffocation.
The blaze broke out around 10am in the godown located in Sector 20, close to a residential area. By the time the fire was brought under control six hours later, several local residents complained of nausea, burning eyes and suffocation.
Police who rushed to the spot advised locals to cover their faces with damp cloth. However, many of them refused to move out of their homes and shut themselves inside. Those who ventured out covered their faces with cloth to keep the fumes out. Fires fuelled by sulphur do not respond to water, and authorities had to call for dumpers heaped with mud. Almost 100 vehicles were brought in and the fire was finally doused by 3.45pm.
"There were three layers of sulphur bags. While one layer was gutted, two stacks were saved," said deputy commissioner of police Purshottam Karad.
Karad said of the four people admitted to the hospital, two are godown workers while the other two are from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport bus depot. All four are out of danger.
Police are yet to verify the cause of the fire. Karad, however, said that the godown lacked proper fire-fighting systems.
Local corporator Shubhangi Patil said the lack of fire fighting equipment was "a serious issue", given that the godown was next to a residential area. She said she would write to the CWC asking for corrective measures.