Thane factory blast: death toll rises to 11, more than 64 injured

Kin of those killed in the blast to be given Rs 5 lakh each; expenses of those injured to be borne by the state government

Firefighters battle the blaze and conduct rescue operations at the Thane factory blast (photo: PTI)
Firefighters battle the blaze and conduct rescue operations at the Thane factory blast (photo: PTI)


As many as 11 persons have been killed and more than 64 others injured in the aftermath of the explosion at a chemical factory in Maharashtra's Thane district on Thursday afternoon, 23 May, officials say.

As a boiler exploded at Amudan Chemicals located in Phase 2 of Dombivli MIDC area around 1:40 p.m., the impact of the explosion and the resultant blaze affected adjacent factories and houses.

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

The blast was so loud that it was heard a kilometre away, an eyewitness said. Thick clouds of smoke could be seen hovering over the factory. Glass windows of adjoining buildings cracked, while many houses in the vicinity were damaged, officials say.

At least six men and two women were killed in the incident, but their bodies were charred beyond recognition, said Yasin Tadvi, chief of the disaster management cell of the Thane Municipal Corporation.

As per the preliminary information, those killed were working in neighbouring factories, Maharashtra industries minister Uday Samant said.

The state industries and labour department has issued a statement saying that the boiler in the factory was not registered under the India Boiler Regulations, 1950.

Terming the incident as horrible, chief minister Eknath Shinde said more people are feared trapped in the factories around the chemical factory.

"Our priority is to rescue those people. Eight persons have lost their lives and more than sixty were injured," he said from the factory site.

The state government has taken serious note of the incident and has decided to categorise industries here as A, B and C in terms of the risk they pose.

"All most hazardous industrial units falling under the red category will be immediately shut across the state.

"Such units will be given an option to shift to another location or change the usage (category) like engineering and IT... There will be no compromise on the lives of people," Shinde said.

The departments concerned will meet to formulate the process of shifting the units, he said.

The chief minister also announced that the kin of those killed in the blast will be given Rs 5 lakh each, and the expenses of those injured will be borne by the government.

The state industries department said the reasons behind the blast will be revealed only after a detailed inquiry into this matter.

Besides the fire brigade, police and local officials, the NDRF too is taking part in the rescue operation, officials said.

Minister Samant told PTI that the plant where the explosion took place was not in operation for the last few months and had resumed only a few days ago.

Samant, local MP Shrikant Shinde and MLA Raju Patil visited the site inside the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area, some 40 km from Mumbai.

Chief minister Shinde said, "Those who are found to be at fault will face action and no one will be spared. I have instructed the authorities to register a case of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' in connection with the incident."

He later visited the hospital in Dombivli and enquired about the health of the injured persons who are undergoing treatment there.

The impact of the explosion was such that an eatery named Ganesh Bhuvan in the vicinity suffered major damage as it was mostly reduced to rubble.

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