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Fire continues to rage at Butcher Island, 60 firefighters trying to douse oil tank blaze

The blaze, which had subsided, reignited again around 4.30am on Sunday owing to excessive heat.

mumbai Updated: Oct 08, 2017 16:49 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Butcher Island,Gateway of India,Mumbai Port Trust
A major fire that broke out in an oil tanker on the Butcher Island continues to rage on Sunday (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

A major fire that broke out in an oil tanker on the Butcher Island, off the east coast of Mumbai continued to rage on Saturday, more than 20 hours after it was triggered apparently by a lightning strike.

The blaze, which had subsided reignited again around 4.30am owing to excessive heat, chief fire officer of the Mumbai fire brigade P Rahangdale said.

The firefighters are trying to control the flames from spreading onto the nearby tankers.

The fire started around 5pm on Friday in tank number 13 containing high-speed diesel.

According to officials from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), no casualties have been reported and all technicians have been evacuated from the area, which is about 8kms from the iconic Gateway of India.

The island houses a marine oil terminal of the MbPT.

Close to 60 firefighters from various agencies are working to douse the fire, officials from MbPT said.

MbPT spokesperson Rajendra Paibir said, “Till the time the diesel is not totally burned off, the flames can’t be brought under full control. All our efforts are now on not letting the fire spread to the nearby tanks.”

Fire officials said that they have also initiated the process of decanting - removing fuel from a tank through a pipe - tank number 12 and 14.

The fire is believed to be triggered by a lightning strike when Mumbai got thundershowers and heavy rains on Friday evening.

Sources said that there is a Nafta tank (contains highly inflammable chemicals) near the burning tank. Therefore, the authorities have started off-loading the tank, as a preventive measure.

According to sources, the blaze was so intense last night that the heat was felt even from a few hundred metres away.

The intensity of fire was reduced around 3am, but it again intensified.

(With inputs from Kailash Korde)

First Published: Oct 07, 2017 15:53 IST