Reports On Tuesday, UPL Ltd, an agrochemical major, said two workers were killed and 26 injured in a “severe fire” at the Jhagdia plant in Gujarat’s Bharuch district.
In addition, five workers were missing, according to the company.
UPL said the accident may have been caused by a solvent fire / explosion, but did not rule out a “dirty game”. The company, meanwhile, said it would offer compensation to the dead and affected workers.
In a regulatory filing, the UPL said, “Unfortunately, a fire broke out at a plant in our Jhagdia unit in Gujarat this morning in a state of shutdown.”
It added that the fire broke out at about 1.35am, followed by “an explosion at one of our plants, which has been shut down since February 5, 2021, for its planned annual boiler inspection.”
Since the plant was closed, UPL said there was no chemical reaction at the plant.
No chemical or gas leaks were caused by fire / explosion during or after the incident.
Local police inspector PH Waswa said the fire broke out after an explosion at the United Phosphorus Limited plant in Jhagdia GIDC industrial area.
While local sources said it was a boiler explosion, the police official did not elaborate and said an investigation was underway.
Sources said that the factory had manufactured chemicals used in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Two bodies have been found so far from the rubble inside the factory,” said Inspector Waswa. The search is on for five workers who are still missing. ”
The inspector said the blast was so loud that it could be heard from a distance.
He added that about 15 fire tenders reached the spot and the fire was brought under control by 6.30 am.
“Given the severity, it appears that the fire may have been caused by a fire / explosion in the solvent which may have been caused by an electrical short circuit. We do not rule out a potentially bad game, as there was no operation. At the plant, ”the company said as it entered.
UPL said the company was able to gain access to the site this evening after the fire department contained the blaze.
“We have found 2 deaths on the site and 5 more workers are missing. In addition, 26 workers were injured and treated at the hospital, of whom 15 have been discharged and 11 are in hospital. None of this is alarming. The statement said.
The company said it would stand by the families of the dead and affected workers and provide compensation.
“We have appointed an internal investigation team to conduct a detailed investigation into the cause of the fire. We are extending our full cooperation to the local authorities as they investigate the incident. We will also have an independent investigation into this incident. The main reason for this, ”said UPL.
UPL is a major player in the agrochemical industry with a presence in many countries.
The state’s Labor and Employment Department has ordered the closure of the unit, saying it will review its safety aspects. According to the release, it also ordered the factory owners to pay compensation to the families of the slain workers.