Three workers were killed and five others injured in a blast at a scrap store in Jindal Market near Samrala Chowk on the GT Road here on Saturday afternoon.
Ruling out the possibility of a terrorist attack, the police said the blast occurred while a worker of MS Iron Store was paring a bombshell procured from the Dhandari Kalan dry port, a transit point for iron scrap imported from Gulf countries, to take out bronze.
An anti-sabotage team, along with a bomb disposal squad and forensic experts, are examining the shells to find out the nature of the explosive. Heavy police force has been deployed in the area. The scrap store has been sealed and the movement of people in the vicinity restricted.
At least eight workers were present in the store when the blast occurred at around 12:30 pm. The owner of the store, Manjit Singh, who had gone to attend a 'bhog' ceremony when the incident happened, has been booked for causing deaths due to negligence.
So powerful was the blast that the bodies of the workers were ripped apart and their limbs fell on the adjoining road. A mini-truck parked in front of the gate of the store withstood much of the impact by preventing the iron particles set off by the explosion from hitting the busy road.
One labourer died on the spot, while the other two succumbed to their injuries in hospital. Two of them have been identified as Saligram and Balbir Singh. The identity of the third worker is yet to be ascertained.
Three vehicles were damaged in the explosion, but there was no damage to the building.
The police have rounded up several dealers who had been supplying iron scrap to the store to know from where they had been collecting the scrap.
Ruling out the involvement of terrorists in the explosion, DCP Gurpreet Singh Toor said forensic experts were examining the nature of the explosive. He said the bombshell was found in the iron scrap the workers were sifting through.
The traffic cops deployed at Samrala Chowk immediately reached the spot and informed the nearest police station about the incident. Eyewitnesses said the police arrived 15 minutes later. The chaos that followed the explosion led to a traffic jam at Samrala Chowk.