Property worth lakhs gutted
PROPERTY WORTH lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that began from the godowns of Ruchi Soya behind Lasudiamori police station and later spread to other nearby godowns. However no one was injured in the incident.india Updated: May 20, 2006 15:08 IST
PROPERTY WORTH lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that began from the godowns of Ruchi Soya behind Lasudiamori police station and later spread to other nearby godowns. However no one was injured in the incident.
After battling for more than nine hours the fire fighters brought the fire under control with the help of 16 fire tenders, and 2,500 kg foam.
Local residents, mostly factory workers living in small hutments adjoining the godowns, first spotted smoke coming out of the godowns of Ruchi Soya at around 6.30 am. At first the Ruchi Soya personnel tried to fight the fire on their own with the fire extinguishers and water, but when they could not control it they called for help. The fire brigade were informed only around 8 am, and they started their fire fighting operations at around 8.30 am.
The godowns of Ruchi Soya were filled with oil and ghee and when it caught fire thick black smoke came billowing out of the godowns. The accompanying flames leapt up to 40 feet high, and the fire and the smoke could be seen from a long distance.
The fire brigade personnel tried to douse the flames with water, but the oil and ghee in the godown started flowing out with the water and it quickly spread on the cemented road between the godowns. The fire traced the flow of the oil and ghee and it slowly spread to the other neighbouring godowns.
Across a small cemented road from the godowns of Ruchi Soya were godowns of pharmaceutical company Nicholas Piramal. Even as the fire brigade personnel and the company employees watched, smoke started coming out of the windows, and soon the air conditioner caught fire.
Some of the employees tried to take out medicines from the godown, but the policemen prevented them from doing so, as they feared that the employees might get trapped in the fire.
In the beginning as the fire leapt from one section of the godown to the other and the fire fighting equipment of the firemen proved inadequate there was genuine fear that the fire might spread to the clustered houses of the factory workers. In fact, even the numerous vehicles of the fire department parked nearby were removed to a distance for safety’s sake.
A general warning was sounded and all the people were told to take out their household goods. Hundreds of people loaded their household goods in whatever vehicle they could find and dumped it a short distance away in the open fields. Some carried the household items with their bare hands to safety while some waited to see how far the fire spread before taking any action.
In the first few hours it looked as if the raging fire accompanied by a steady wind would consume more godowns and even the adjoining houses as the fire fighting proved ineffectual, and there was panic in the entire area.
But slowly as more and more fire tenders came armed not only with water but also with foam the fire was brought under control and then completely extinguished at around 6 pm. The JCB machines called in also did their bit – they smashed the godown walls, which helped the firemen to attack the flames from various corners.
The fire once again came alive at around 7.30 pm in the Ruchi Soya godown and both water and foam tenders had to be rushed to the site once again. The flames were extinguished almost immediately. The fire brigade personnel who were still keeping vigil said that there was nothing to worry about, and that some debris might still be smouldering in some pockets.