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7 Jun, 2021 17:10

Huge blaze at chemical factory kills 18 people in western India (VIDEO)

Huge blaze at chemical factory kills 18 people in western India (VIDEO)

At least 18 people have been killed in a blaze at a chemical plant near the city of Pune in western India on Monday, the local fire department has said, after workers became trapped in the burning building.

The fire broke out at a facility on an industrial estate in the village of Urawade on Monday. All the victims, 15 of whom are women, were trapped inside the factory after an explosion from a piece of machinery started the blaze, a spokesperson for the firefighters said.

Dramatic footage from the scene showed flames ripping through an upper part of the plant as thick black smoke billowed from the building.

Firefighters managed to contain the blaze after smashing holes in the factory walls to gain access to the building, with eyewitness video from the site showing a digger and rubble outside the plant.

There were 37 people working in the plant at the time of the blaze, 20 of whom have been rescued, according to Devendra Potphode, chief of the Pune Metropolitan Region Fire Brigade.

Local police were also dispatched to the site to manage the dozens of people who had gathered outside the factory to watch the incident unfold.

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The site reportedly belongs to SVS Aqua Technologies, which specializes in the manufacture of chemicals, including chlorine dioxide tablets.

An investigation to determine the cause of the fire has been ordered by the authorities in Pune, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar confirmed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences to the bereaved families, saying in a statement that he was “pained” by the loss of life. The PM also announced payments of 200,000 rupees ($2,700) to the next of kin of each victim, as well as compensation for those injured in the incident.

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