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Mumbai’s Butcher Island fire brought under control after three days

The fire broke out in an oil tank containing diesel on Friday evening, probably because of lightning, said Mumbai Port Trust officials

mumbai Updated: Oct 09, 2017 17:06 IST
MUMBAI FIRE,BUTCHER ISLAND FIRE,FIRE NEAR ELEPHANTA
The fire at Butcher Island, off Mumbai’s coast, raged on for three days, but fire-fighters managed to contain it to the one oil tank where it started.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT)

After battling the huge blaze at Butcher Island, off Mumbai’s east coast, for close to three days, the city’s firefighters managed to bring it under control on Monday morning. Cooling operations have now begun.

Dubbing it the most “daredevil” operation of his career in a Facebook post, Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire official of the Mumbai fire brigade, said: “The fire brigade and the Mumbai Port Trust’s fire-fighting teams used an aggressive fire-fighting mechanism. After a day-and-night operation for three days, the fire has been contained to only tank number 13,” Rahangdale said.

Now there is very little diesel left in oil tank 13, and water curtains are being used to cool it, he added. Fire brigade officials said cooling operations have begun on the adjacent tanks numbered 12, 14, 15 and 16.

On Friday evening, a massive fire broke out in tank number 13, which contained high-speed diesel.

Officials from the Mumbai Port Trust said the fire may have been caused by lightning. The city has been experiencing thunder, lightning and heavy showers in the evenings since Friday.

More than 60 fire-fighters from the Mumbai fire brigade and the MbPT fire service worked in two shifts for three days in a row to contain the fire. The cooling operations of the tanker and others around it, however, went on till Sunday night. No loss of life or injuries was reported.

After the tanker exploded on Sunday morning, fire-fighters feared the blaze would spread to the adjacent tanks, posing a risk to those involved in the operation. “The tanker tilted towards the shore on Sunday morning, before disintegrating at 11.45am. The fire-fighters used foam to contain the fire from spreading,” Rahangdale said.

Firemen used thermal imaging cameras to check the level of diesel oil in the tanker. Rahangdale said, “The temperature around the burning tanker varied up to 350°C, so those involved in the fire-fighting operation stayed at a safe distance. We used three fixed monitors and two portable foam induction monitors to control the fire. We were simultaneously emptying oil from the other tanks.”

First Published: Oct 09, 2017 10:52 IST