Explosion at Chemical Factory in India Results in Over 10 Fatalities and 64 Injuries

A devastating explosion at a chemical factory in western India has led to at least 10 deaths and over 60 injuries. The incident occurred on Thursday 23rd in Thane, a city near Mumbai, Maharashtra’s financial hub. The explosion originated from the factory’s boiler, igniting fires that spread to adjacent factories and residential buildings.

Despite the fire being extinguished, rescue operations are ongoing as officials fear more bodies might be trapped under the rubble. Local administrative official Sachin Sejal confirmed the continuing search efforts. Investigations into the explosion’s cause are underway, he added.

Among the 64 injured are numerous women employed at the affected factories, all of whom are receiving treatment in six nearby hospitals, according to Mr. Sejal. Dramatic images and footage of the incident revealed a dense cloud of grey smoke engulfing the area, prompting a frantic evacuation.

The factory, which manufactures food coloring, uses highly reactive chemicals prone to causing explosions, as noted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). On Friday morning, search and rescue teams recovered three additional bodies.

In response to the tragedy, Maharashtra police have charged the factory owners with culpable homicide and negligence in handling hazardous substances. Authorities deployed 10 fire engines to control the blaze, which was finally subdued by 11 pm. Cooling operations are currently in progress, according to Kailas Nikam of the Disaster Management Cell of the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation.

The site is permeated with the pungent odor of burnt chemicals, as reported by The Hindu newspaper. This incident highlights the prevalent issue of factory fires in India, often attributed to inadequate safety standards and lax regulatory enforcement.

Photo credit: Rafiq Maqbool