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HindustanTimes Mon,15 Sep 2014

Chemical tanker catches fire, 7 vehicles gutted

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Panchkula, June 18, 2014
First Published: 11:09 IST(18/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:12 IST(18/6/2014)

In an untoward incident, a tanker carrying about 18,000 litres of ethyl alcohol, raw material used to make alcohol, caught fire after it turned turtle near the Parwanoo Himachal state barrier, about 15 km from Panchkula, on Tuesday morning. In the fire, two cars, five motorcycles and the sales tax collection depot were destroyed.

In all eight fire tenders were pressed into service and 20 rounds of water were used to douse the fire. It took firemen over six hours to put off the fire. Meanwhile, timely action by the Panchkula administration authorities and those from the fire department saved a lot of loss from happening. Had the tanker exploded the loss would have been colossal.

THE INCIDENT

The tanker driven by Lovejit Singh was on its way to a bottling plant in Parwanoo from Banur in Punjab. As it neared the Parwanoo Himachal state barrier, the driver lost control of the tanker that started sliding back. According to the onlookers, the driver lost control and the tanker turned turtle and hit the sales tax collection depot crushing it completely. The driver fled the spot and the police have started investigations.
Deputy director, sales and taxation of the depot, Sanjeev Rathi said, “We have lost all records of the sales tax as the depot had been completely damaged.”

The impact was such that the tanker started leaking and the chemical started flowing out and reached the Kalka Kali Mata mandir which was about 100 metres from the site of the incident. It was then that the chemical caught fire because of some burning cigarette butt, spreading the fire towards the tanker and engulfing five motorcyclesycles and two cars parked on the roadside before it finally burnt the sales tax depot.

Informing, Panchkula fire officer SS Malik said, “As the chemical was highly combustible, it caught massive fire and burnt whatever came  in its way. Thankfully these two cars and five motorcycles were parked on the roadside and no driver was hurt.”

RESCUE OPERATION ON

Kalka assistant commissioner missioner of police (ACP) Purnima Singh, Panchkula ACP Mamta Sodha, officials from the administration and municipal cor poration reached the spot within minutes of the incident. The firemen focused on not letting the tanker explode, which could have led to serious loss of both lives and property.

ACP Purnima Singh along withith Kalkalk sub divisional diiil magistrate (SDM) Capt Shakti Singh (retd) kept guiding the firefighters and asked them to divert the flow of chemical towards a Sukhna choe alongside the road so that it does not flow towards the Kalka residential area.

Shakti Singh said water was only used to keep the tanker cool so that it did not explode and the fire was doused using the foam.“Our focus was to save the tanker from exploding, else it would have caused a lot of damage and the fire would have gone up to the residential area in Kalka,” said fire officer SS Malik.

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