Hyderabad: Panic spread after a major fire broke at a pharma chemical company in the industrial area of Jeedimetla on Friday morning. Seven persons sustained injuries. Flames went up to a few metres and smoke continued to billow from the factory, creating an alarming situation.
Seven persons sustained injuries and it took eight fire tenders to douse the fire which broke out between 6.30 am and 7 am at Seutic Pharmaceuticals in the Jeedimetla area, a police official said.
Following information about the fire by local people, fire fighters from various locations rushed to the place to bring the situation under control.
“We received a call at 6:50 am and by 7 we were there and in the next half an hour, nine fire tenders from Jeedimetla, Sanath Nagar, Kukatpally, Madhapur, Secund-erabad, Shamirpet, Cherlapally and Moulali were deployed,” said Jeedimetla Fire Station House Officer Sridhar Reddy. Chemical leak or reaction was most likely to be the reason of fire, said the official.
Seutic Pharmaceuti-cals was a 24-hour work company. As a result, night shift workers were still in when the massive fire broke. “The fire rescue team evacuated around 20 workers and shifted the injured to the nearby private hospital. HazMat, a hazardous material apparatus rescue vehicle, was also called to the place to rescue” added the fire safety officials.
The situation was under control in two hours, said the officials, adding that owing to the place bring a residential area, they circled the premise and acted impulsively. “We started the operation around 7 am and by 8:30 am, we managed to douse the flames,” said Mr Reddy.
Condition of 6 burns patients Critical
Six persons who suffered burns in the fire accident were undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital DRDO branch and hospital sources said their condition was critical. The victims were initially rushed to a nearby private hospital at Kompally, from where they were shifted to Apollo Hospital.
The injured were identified as senior electrician B. Srinivas (36), maintenance supervisor K Simhachalam (32), shift incharge Kumara Swamy (39) and helpers Haren Khalkar (40), Sanjeeth Kumar (19) and Shyam Chauran Behra (30).
While the first three were from Jeedimetla area, the rest from other States and had been working in the unit for the past few months. According to family members of the victims, all of them were on the first shift when the incident happened. They went to work as usual, but around 8 am, their families got the information of the accident and rushed to the unit, but could not get any details.
“There were people all around and no one could give us any details about our people. We were worried initially,” they said.
Karun, younger son of Srinivas, said the hospital authorities said his father was recovering. Srinivas received 95 per cent burns, while Simhachalam had 91, Kumaraswamy 80, Sanjeeth Kumar 70, Haren Khalkar 65 and Shyam 35.
Local residents wake up to chaos
Locals were baffled with the sudden hullabaloo in the area, which is otherwise calm and peaceful. Fortunately, the pharma company had all the fire safety measures like hydrants and fire extinguishers which could be used, officials said.
“I was waiting for my son to come out so that I could drop him off to school as usual when I noticed the plumes of thick, black smoke which shot up into the sky from the premises. I shouted and alerted the area locals to stay in as we were aware of the chemical company” said a local resident Amit Kumar.
Since the fire was at a chemical firm, keeping a possibility of dealing with harmful substances, Hazmat vehicle, which is used exclusively to tackle hazardous chemical, biological or nuclear mishaps, was called by the fire officials.
Explaining its use, station house officer Reddy said, “For example, while dealing with the nuclear-related explosion or fire accident, the team will have a chemical suite and breathing apparatus and can enter the restricted area and bring out the people,” he said.
Persons exposed to nuclear gases would be shifted to a temporary tent and decontamination measures would be taken, he added.
Regional fire officer of central region V. Papaiah said that the fire department received a call around 6.50 am, after which eight fire engines and four water tankers were rushed to the scene of the blaze, which was extinguished in about 90 minutes....