18 workers charred in Pune factory fire
Pune: At least 18 people were charred to death in a major fire that broke out at an industrial plant in Urawade village near Pirangut, around 40 kilometres from Pune, on Monday, officials familiar with the matter said.
While 41 workers had reported to duty, 18 of them were trapped inside the plant when the fire broke out, Sandesh Shirke, sub-divisional officer of Maval, Mulshi area, said.
“We have so far recovered 18 charred bodies. Two people were found alive and moved to a private hospital on Karve Road, Pune, for treatment,” Shirke said.
The victims, which included 15 women, were local villagers working at the plant, officials said.
The fire, officials added, broke out at around 4pm in SVS Aqua Technologies which manufactures chemicals used in water purifiers. The fire brigade department of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) pressed eight fire tender units to douse the flames which was brought under control by around 6:45pm.
“The company will be in a better position to tell why most of them were women,” Shrike said.
Suhas Diwase, PMRDA chief executive officer, said the bodies recovered were beyond recognition and were sent to Sassoon general hospital.
“We will know about their identity after the medical examination,” Diwase said.
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in a statement said that an inquiry has been ordered to find out the cause of the fire. He also announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh to kin of each of the deceased.
Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh said, “We have constituted a committee to inquire into the fire incident. Details such as the cause of the fire and safety-related aspects will be probed.”
Urawade has around eight industrial units, most of them producing chemicals, which locals claimed were not inflammatory.
“The firm is involved in manufacturing chemicals required for purification of water. This chemical is not inflammable and we suspect a short circuit as the cause of the incident,” Nikunj Shah, director of SVS Aqua Technologies, said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident. “Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a factory in Pune, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families,” Modi tweeted.