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Stroke of luck saved many factory workers

mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2013 01:35 IST
Mohamed Thaver
Mohamed Thaver
Hindustan Times
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The number of casualties from Friday’s explosion at the Sakinaka factory could have been higher, had it not been for chance, said workers at the factory and nearby residents.

The labourers at the factory, located inside the KK compound on Khairani Road, usually sleep on the terrace of a ground plus one structure, which is adjacent to the site of the explosion. Fortunately, on that night, no one was sleeping on there.

In the wee hours of Friday, five persons were killed and three others injured after an explosion at Mahi industries, an aluminum casting unit.

Abdul Shaikh Lazeez, 27, who works at a sand supplying unit next to site of the explosion, said: “Normally, there are around five labourers who sleep on the terrace on the first floor of the structure at night. Last night however, no one was sleeping there,” he said, adding that he didn’t know why they were not sleeping there on Thursday night.

Lazeez, who was sleeping at the sand godown, just 15-metres away from the structure, was woken up by the deafening noise of the explosion. “For the first few minutes, I thought I’d lost my hearing,” he said.

During the explosion, the building of Mahi industries was destroyed and a PVC folder-making unit on the first floor of the structure also collapsed. The debris fell on a makeshift tenement adjacent to the structure, which housed the Patel family, killing five of its members.

Shirish Garade, owner of the PVC making unit said, “ Several products and machines in my unit have been damaged as well.” Pravin Dedhia, representative of Mahi industries said, “ we are still to find where the explosion exactlly took place.”

The makeshift tenement where the Patel family lived was the only residential dwelling in the industrial KK compound.

Four fire engines, three ambulances and two rescue vans were pressed into duty during the 14-hour rescue operation. “We completed the rescue operations at around 3.54 pm. There are no more bodies under the debris,” said a fire brigade official.