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Major tragedy averted: Fire, blasts rock printing unit in Ludhiana

Ludhiana unit was closed for 10 days for shifting of material, preventing loss of life; flames contained in operation that ran past 12am.

punjab Updated: Nov 28, 2017 14:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Fire in Ludhiana,blasts rock printing unit,Ludhiana industrial area
The gutted machinery after a fire broke out in a building housing a printing factory at Kirpal Nagar in Ludhiana on Sunday night. (Gurpreet Singh/HT )

A major fire broke out at a printing unit, setting off several explosions at Kirpal Nagar on Sunday night. Major tragedy was averted as the factory was lying closed for several days.

Panic spread in the area as the blasts sounded at 8:30pm, prompting residents of adjacent houses to evacuate their buildings. Nine fire tenders were rushed to the spot. But the vehicles struggled to make way through the narrow streets, forcing firefighters to run fire hoses on around 300 metres.

The building housed a printing factory. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

The firemen managed to douse the blaze around 11:30pm, but it reignited around 1:30am, forcing fire tenders to return. The flames were finally put out around 2:30am, before they could spread to other storeys in the building or the transformer outside.

The factory, where bags and other material were printed, was closed for the past 10 days as the owner was shifting material. A hosiery unit is located on the first floor of the building, but the fire was contained before it could spread to it. Residents said the main gate of the factory and a wall were damaged after a blast, adding that the fire may have sparked due to a short-circuit in the illegal ‘kundi’ connections set up by slum dwellers living in the factory’s vicinity.

One of the residents, Vipan Kumar, said they instantly vacated their house on noticing the fire. By the time his family members left the house through the main door, the flames reached near it, forcing him to jump into the first floor of his neighbour’s house. Residents said fumes of the chemicals burnt in the factory had spread to the nearby houses.

Assistant divisional fire officer (ADFO) Bhupinder Singh said they had taken up the matter of factories storing chemicals in large amounts with industrial associations.

Reminder of November 20 tragedy

Memory of their colleagues losing their lives in the factory collapse near Suffian Chowk still ripe, firefighters refrained from entering the factory unit as it contained chemicals. Firefighters saw red on finding the factory owner not telling them about the chemicals in the factory.

Must read | Ludhiana factory tragedy: Comrades gone in line of duty, work for firemen will never be the same again

Chemical drums go missing

Even as several drums of chemical were stores in the factory around 11:30pm on Sunday, they were missing on Monday morning. Residents claimed the owner moved the drums in the morning to avert action by authorities.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 14:51 IST