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Chemical reaction may have caused blast at factory

mumbai Updated: May 27, 2016 11:22 IST

DOMBIVLI: While the cause of Thursday’s boiler explosion at Probace Enterprises, a chemicals company at Dombivli MIDC, is yet to be ascertained, fire officers told HT they suspect it was sparked by a chemical reaction in the boiler, which was perhaps not well-maintained.

Five people died and 129 were and injured in the explosion on Thursday morning.

“The cause of the explosion is yet to be ascertained, but we suspect that it may have been caused by a chemical reaction in the boiler. It’s possible that poor maintenance of the boilers led to the reaction and the blast,” said Namdeo Choudhari, fire officer, Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation

He added, “What kind of chemicals the company used is yet to be ascertained. We are also searching for the owner of the company and three employees who have been missing since the explosion took place.”

According to local residents and activists, the area sees one or two boiler blasts every year. They said they have complained to the authorities about errant factories several times, but nothing has been done.

“There is an urgent need for a detailed audit of all companies in the Dombivli MIDC as none of them have conducted one for several years. The authorities must also conduct surprise checks to ensure that the factories comply with safety norms,” said Vishwanath Biwalkar, social activist from Dombivli.

“We have decided to meet the concerned ministers on this matter and ask for quick action against companies that do not comply with safety norms,” he added.

There are around 450 companies in phases 1 and 2 of MIDC, Dombvili. A residential area, with a population of about 40,000, lies within these two phases.

“I have been fighting against factories that don’t follow environmental and safety norms for the past 20 years. However, the authorities have taken no action against them,” said Raju Nalawade, secretary, Dombvili MI DC Housing Welfare Association.

First Published: May 27, 2016 11:22 IST