32 year old fireman dies fighting fire in Navi Mumbai chemical company
A 32 year old fireman was killed while dousing a fire in a chemical company in Taloja, Navi Mumbai after inhaling hazardous chemical fumes in the wee hours of Saturday. Three other firemen who complained of difficulties in breathing are under observation in a Navi Mumbai hospital. Fire fighting teams from four different local governing bodies were involved in seven hours long operation with ten fire tenders.
The deceased has been identified as Balu Damu Deshmukh, a fireman from Ambernath fire station.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight at plot J39 in Mody Chemi-Pharma Pvt Ltd which reportedly manufactures materials for pharmaceutical companies.
Deepak Dorugade, Taloja MIDC fire station chief, who himself is under observation after inhaling the fumes, said, “We received the fire call at 12.05 am. When we reached the spot the one storey building was completely engulfed in flames and there were explosions taking place inside. Our priority was to ensure that the nine chlorine tunnels with 900 kg chlorine in each were protected from fire.”
Chlorine gas is very poisonous and does not dilute easily in air. If there had been an explosion in even one tunnel it would have been catastrophic with lives being lost, claimed Dorudage. The team managed to ensure the drums were secured. Fire personnel from Navi Mumbai, CIDCO, MIDC and also Ambernath rushed to the spot to douse the blaze.
Around 10 fire tenders were deployed and it was eventually put out at around 7 am.
Dorudage added, “Deshmukh felt dizzy during the fire fighting operation after inhaling the toxic fumes around 4.00 am. He came out and vomited and then felt better and was walking fine. He then went to take rest in his vehicle. A little later, I too felt dizzy and came out of the fire fighting operations and collapsed. However, after vomiting thrice on the road, I felt better.”
The team then checked on Deshmukh who was in the vehicle. Dorudage said.
“He had vomited in sleep and hence there was respiratory tract arrest, we rushed him to MGM hospital in Kamothe. He was breathing until he reached the hospital, however, passed away on admission at around 4.30 am. It is a huge shock for us.”
A case of accidental death has been registered at Taloja police station.
Apart from Dorugade, two other fire officers inhaled the fumes and have been asked to take rest. They are all stable at present. Fire officials are investigating the cause of fire.