At least 43 people were injured in a massive fire that broke out at the Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) refinery in Mumbai yesterday afternoon, officials said.
The refinery is located at Mahul in Chembur, in the eastern Mumbai suburbs.
According to locals and eyewitnesses, the fire was followed by a loud explosion and a thick black smoke which was visible from several kilometres away.
A BPCL official later said that the fire erupted in the compressor shed of a hydrocracker plant within the plant complex after a leak of an oil-water mixture in an adjoining plant.
“The incident, which occurred around 2.45pm and the resultant raging fire, was initially handled by the BPCL’s in-house firefighters. The affected plant has been shut down, though other operations in the complex are functioning normally,” the official said.
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.
The fire was brought under control by late evening.
The BPCL said that 20 of the injured were treated at the BPCL Medical Centre and allowed to go while the remaining 23 were shifted to the private Inlaks Hospital.
At least four were under observation and the condition of one was described as serious by the police. Most suffered fractures or lacerations following the blast.
There are several residential colonies and slums around the BPCL plant besides sensitive installations like a plant of the Hindustan Petroleum, 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.
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