"Everything over in 5 seconds": Dombivli factory worker recalls the horror

"It was ‘pralay’ for five seconds and everything was over" — that’s how Avdesh Kumar summed up the Thane factory blast

Remains of the Thane factory after the explosion (photo: PTI)
Remains of the Thane factory after the explosion (photo: PTI)


It was ‘pralay’ for five seconds and everything was over. That’s how Avdesh Kumar summed up the Thane factory blast that snuffed out almost a dozen lives. Kumar was a worker at the chemical factory where an explosion on 23 May, Thursday, injured over 60 others.

“It took only five seconds and everything was finished like pralay (cataclysm),” said Kumar, recalling the chaos and panic as metal pieces and debris flew in all directions.

Kumar spoke to the media after receiving treatment for his injuries.

“The sky was filled with flying metal pieces and glasses. It was total havoc,” said the worker, describing the devastation after a boiler exploded on Thursday at Amudan Chemicals in Dombivli MIDC area of Maharashtra’s Thane district.

The factory worker said he was hit by a “flying 5 kg angle” in the back, causing profuse bleeding and excruciating pain.

Amid the pandemonium, Kumar said he sought help from those around him but everyone was in a frenzied scramble for safety.

“Everyone was running helter-skelter, trying to save their lives,” he recounted. The powerful blast triggered widespread destruction at the factory. “Everything was damaged, with the roof and structure collapsing. Nothing is left now,” he said.

The impact of the blast and the resultant blaze also caused damage to adjacent factories and houses, according to officials.

The affected chemical factory produced food colours and used highly reactive peroxides and unstable chemicals that can cause explosions under certain conditions, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said after the accident.

Police on 24 May, Friday, detained two of the owners of the chemical factory, including a 70-year-old woman.

According to the first information report (FIR), the company had not taken precautions over the mixing of chemicals, final products and storage, despite knowing full well that any lapses might lead to an explosion which could affect and damage the company's own premises and the structures around it.

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