Mumbai, Aug 8 (IANS) At least 43 persons were injured in a massive fire that erupted in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) refinery here on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The incident took place in the BPCL refinery located at Mahul in Chembur, in the eastern Mumbai suburbs.
According to locals and eyewitnesses, the fire, which was followed by a loud explosion, with thick black smoke emanating, was visible from several kms away, while the blast was heard in places as far as Powai and Sion.
A BPCL spokesperson later said that the fire erupted in the compressor shed of a hydrocracker plant within the plant complex after a leakage of an oil-water mixture in an adjoining plant.
“The incident, which occurred around 2.45 p.m and the resultant raging fire, was initially handled by the BPCL’s inhouse firefighters. The affected plant has been shut down, though other operations in the complex are functioning normally,” the spokesperson told IANS.
Later, nearly two dozen fire tenders and five jumbo tankers were also rushed to the site by the Mumbai Fire Brigade to help battle the blaze.
Fire tenders were also sent by the BMC, HPCL, BARC, RCF and MDL to help combat the conflagration which was brought under control by late evening.
The BPLC said that 20 of the injured persons were attended by the BPCL Medical Centre and allowed to go while the remaining 23 were shifted to the private Inlaks Hospital for further treatment.
At least four were under observation by the medical teams and the condition of one was described as serious by the police. A majority have suffered fractures or lacerations following the blast.
There are several residential colonies and slums around the BPCL plant besides sensitive installations like a HPCL plant, Tata Power unit and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers plant.
This is second major incident involving a BPCL establishment in the past 10 months in the Mumbai region.
Last year, on October 7, a lightning strike had caused a major fire in a a massive oil storage tank on Butcher Island, off Mumbai shore, which was extinguished after four days.